Expungement and Past Marijuana Convictions in Legal States: What Now?

As marijuana legalization continues to domesticate help throughout North America, various states and their collective municipalities are working to expunge or scale back prior pot convictions – calling the absolution a states’ rights challenge and a crucial atonement.

county jail for cannabis

four,900 Californians have requested to have their previous pot convictions expunged

In 2016, 574,641 American residents have been charged with easy marijuana possession. And for these with previous marijuana convictions, they quickly found it’s far harder to develop into a productive member of society with a felony report; dealing with diminished entry to employment, lowered possibilities at a better schooling, and restricted housing alternatives.

Addressing the difficulty final week, elected officers from San Diego to San Francisco started the method of rolling out their amnesty program for individuals convicted of earlier low-level marijuana crimes. This week, the Mayor of Seattle joined the decision for larger alternative for these with previous convictions and introduced comparable efforts. Meanwhile, in Vermont, which lately turned the primary state to legalize hashish for adults 21 and over by means of the legislative course of, officers are analyzing their choices forward of the state’s July 1 implementation.

With some type of marijuana now authorized in 29 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, the next states are collectively trying to deal with their position in legal justice reform in a significant means.

Proposed Marijuana Expungement Legislation


Assembly Bill 1793, launched by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-18th District), seeks to enact laws that may permit the “automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017.” Under Proposition 64, residents of California at the moment are allowed to own and buy as much as 1 ounce of marijuana and domesticate not more than six crops for private use. The voter-approved measure, in addition to legalizing adult-use consumption, cultivation, and distribution – permits people convicted of previous legal marijuana possessions to petition the courts to have these convictions expunged. An costly and time-consuming enterprise for most people, the automated expungement of data can be mandated by the passage AB-1793.


H.2785, authored by Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Fifth District), and cosigned by 25 different elected officers, would permit for the expungement of “records of marijuana arrest, detention, conviction and incarceration.” Marijuana use in Massachusetts was first decriminalized in 2008, with the voters approving medical marijuana simply 4 years later in November 2012. Officially legalized for grownup use on Nov. eight, 2016, residents are nonetheless ready for his or her first leisure dispensary to open.


H.865, sponsored by Maxine Grad (D), Tom Burditt (R), Chip Conquest (D), would permit an individual to file a petition with the courtroom requesting expungement or sealing of the felony historical past associated to a conviction if “the person was convicted of an underlying offense for which the underlying conduct is no longer prohibited by law or designated as a criminal offense.”

New Jersey

S.830, sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-22nd District), wouldn’t solely legalize the private possession and use of small quantities of marijuana by these over the age of 21, the invoice additionally permits an individual convicted of a previous marijuana possession to current an software for expungement to the state’s Superior Court.

While Colorado, Maryland, and Oregon have already handed laws to have misdemeanor marijuana expenses sealed or thrown out solely, roughly four,900 Californians have filed to have their previous pot convictions expunged since Proposition 64 was handed.


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