Gov. Doug Burgum pardons 16 low-level pot offenders

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BISMARCK, N.D. (Valley News Live) - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he has pardoned 16 people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.

It's the first wave in what could be thousands of pardons under a new policy the first-term Republican said allows former offenders to get a second chance.

The policy adopted last year allows people with low-level marijuana convictions petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years.

Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both supported the change.

Burgum says it could address North Dakota’s workforce shortage and grow its economy, while removing the stigma for what are minor cases from years ago.