Department of Justice Simplifies Pardon Certificate Procedure

Stephen Andrews
09 Mar 2023

Getting proof of pardon has just gotten easier. A pardon is applicable for low-level federal marijuana-related convictions. President Biden announced last October a full, unconditional, and absolute pardon for prior federal and D.C. offenses for the simple possession of cannabis. It's estimated that his amnesty will help clear the records of at least 6,000 individuals, some of whom have faced barriers to housing, employment, or education decades after their conviction has been made.

Getting proof of pardon for federal low-level cannabis convictions will get more manageable through a web application supported by the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

The U.S. Department of Justice made the announcement on March 3. The department is launching an online application to make the process easier for people who are eligible to obtain proof of pardon. 

The online application will be available on the Office of the Pardon Attorney's website: Application for Certificate of Pardon

Who qualifies for a pardon?

  • Anyone who, on or before Oct. 6, 2022 (when the President announced the pardon), was charged with or convicted of simple possession of cannabis by either a federal or D.C. Superior court.
  • The person is a U.S. citizen or has a legally regulated residence status at the time of the conviction.
  • The person was a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident on Oct. 6, 2022. 

The online application allows eligible individuals to submit documentation to the Office of the Pardon Attorney to receive a certificate that says the convicted was pardoned on Oct. 6, 2022, for simple possession of marihuana. 

The documentation that needs to be submitted includes personal information, case information (such as docket or case number and the code section that was charged), copies of charging documents (indictment, complaint, criminal information, etc.), and conviction documents where the exact date of the sentence is legible. 

The President's pardon assists pardoned cases by removing civil or legal penalties, including restrictions on the right to vote, hold an office, or sit on a jury. The online process makes getting proof of pardon simpler and faster for everyone seeking employment, bonds, licenses, etc. President Biden said last October that the pardon is here to "help relieve the consequences arising from these [low-level marijuana-related] convictions." 

Those convicted of a state-level cannabis offense do not qualify for the President's pardon. However, Biden has instructed governors to follow suit and implement similar state-level pardons. Last November, governor Kathy Brown of Oregon was the first to announce state-level pardons, which will benefit nearly 50,000 cases. More state governors are expected to announce pardons soon for the same category of low-level cannabis-related offenses. 

Stephen Andrews