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Expungement

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 14, 2019

    Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has signed legislation, Senate Bill 5605, facilitating the expungement of past low-level marijuana convictions.

    The measure states: “Every person convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offenses, who was 21 years of age or older at the time of the offense, may apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of the applicant’s record of conviction for the offense. … If an applicant qualifies under this subsection, the court shall vacate the record of conviction.”

    Governor Inslee said: “This is a matter of fairness and justice. We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in this state.”

    The new law takes effect on July 27, 2019.

    Additional information on pending marijuana legislation is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 1, 2019

    House and Senate lawmakers this week approved legislation, Senate Bill 5605, facilitating the expungement of past low-level marijuana convictions. The legislation now awaits action by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who has previously called for pardoning those with criminal records for marijuana violations.

    The measure provides the courts with the discretion to vacate any misdemeanor marijuana conviction. Those seeking to have their records expunge will need to petition the sentencing court for the vacation of their records.

    Governor Inslee has previously stated that he “believes that forgiving these convictions will allow people to move on with their lives without these convictions causing additional burdens on people, their families, their employers and their communities.”

    Once signed, the new law goes into effect on July 27, 2019.

    For additional information on pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2019

    House and Senate lawmakers have finalized and passed legislation, House Bill 1383, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses and vacating past convictions. The legislation now awaits action from Democratic Gov. David Ige.

    The measure reduces penalties involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a criminal record, to a non-criminal violation – punishable by a $130 fine.

    It also provides a mechanism for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.

    The measure also establishes a task force to review cannabis policy and to make recommendations to the legislature by 2021.

    If signed, the new law takes effect on January 11, 2020.

    To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized (eliminated the possibility of jail time) the adult possession and personal use of marijuana.

    For additional information on pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s Take Action Center online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 18, 2019

    home cultivationCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.

    Foxx’s office is negotiating with the same non-profit group that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.

    Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to bring criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses.

    Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.

    In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities – including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate past cannabis-specific convictions. .

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 11, 2019

    Members of the New York City Council approved a pair of municipal bills this week limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for the past use of cannabis.

    Council members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a municipal proposal (No.1445) barring employers from drug testing certain job applicants for the presence of marijuana.

    The proposal states, “[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment.” Council members passed the bill by a vote of 40 to 4.

    Under the plan, employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions – such as police officers or commercial drivers – or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines, would be exempt from the municipal law.

    The measure now awaits final approval from City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The new rules would take effect one-year after being signed into law.

    Studies have identified the presence of the inert carboxy-THC metabolite in the urine of former marijuana consumers for periods of several months following their last exposure.

    Council members also advanced separate legislation (No. 1427) to the Mayor’s office limiting situations in which persons on probation may be drug tested. Once signed, the new rules will take immediate effect.

    A resolution (Res. 641) calling on the New York City officials to expunge the records of all city misdemeanor marijuana convictions is pending. New York City police made over 78,000 marijuana possession arrests between the years 2014 and 2017.

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