The legalization of marijuana possession has brought an interesting side of past convictions to the forefront of discussion. Various states across the country are looking to address the way past convictions are handled and prosecuted.
Marijuana Possession Expunged
According to this Huffington Post Article, Colorado, Maryland, and New Hampshire have made it easier for people to get their marijuana possession record expunged, including convictions for cultivation.
In Colorado, Maryland, and New Hampshire, the formerly convicted of marijuana possession must file a petition for their record to be sealed or expunged.
Massachusetts and Oregon to seal records
Massachusetts is taking it a step further with a criminal justice bill that will seal the records of those convicted of marijuana possession. Oregon is taking steps to make this possible as well, allowing felony marijuana possession charges to be sealed.
California addresses race bias in arrests
California is looking to address past marijuana possession convictions now that pot is legal throughout the state.
The LA Times reports that San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon is reviewing and seeking resentencing of nearly 5,000 pot felonies and dismissing roughly 3,000 misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1975.
California has uncovered serious bias in marijuana possession charges, including arrests after the decriminalization of pot. Even after the state decriminalized marijuana possession, nearly half the people arrested for marijuana crimes were African Americans though they made up just 6% of the city’s population.
The imbalance of convictions during the US war on drugs hit minority communities hard. Maybe this “reparative justice” will heal communities that were devastated. Marijuana convictions, whether a misdemeanor or felony, make it difficult to find a job, obtain housing, be admitted to higher education, and even getting credit.
Holden Farms hopes the growing number of states considering legalization of marijuana will also retroactively repair the lives damaged by past convictions.