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Nevada governor seeks pardons for low-level pot possession

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.John Locher/Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada could become the latest state with legal marijuana sales to pardon people convicted in the past of low-level marijuana possession.

Governor Steve Sisolak said Thursday he’ll ask the state Board of Pardons next week to consider unconditionally lifting non-violent criminal convictions for possession of 1 ounce (28 grams) or less of marijuana not for purpose of sale.

The Democratic governor said in a statement that tens of thousands of people could be affected.

Nevada is among 11 US states and the District of Columbia with legal recreational sales of marijuana. At least three states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota, have pardon policies.

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Sisolak pointed to statewide approval in 2016 of laws allowing recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older, and possession of less than 1 ounce. Retail sales began in Nevada in 2017.

“The people of Nevada have decided that possession of small amounts of marijuana is not a crime,” he said.

Sisolak raised the issue earlier this year with the pardons panel, which meets next Wednesday. It includes him, Nevada’s seven Supreme Court justices, and state Attorney General Aaron Ford.