“Tens of thousands of Americans unduly carry the burden and stigmatization of a past conviction for behavior that is no longer considered to be a crime. Our sense of justice and our principles of fairness demand that officials continue to take action in order to right the past wrongs of cannabis prohibition and criminalization.”
Legislation would incentivize state and local governments to expunge the criminal records of tens of millions of Americans who have previously been convicted of marijuana offenses.
Under the state’s new adult-use legalization law, those with past marijuana convictions may petition for either the expungement of their records or for a re-sentencing of their conviction.
State officials announced: “Approximately 203,000 marijuana related charges are presently being suppressed from background searches and in process to be sealed or expunged. … This will add to the approximately 198,000 sealing accomplished as part of the first round of marijuana expungements for the 2019 expungement legislation.”
333,886 simple marijuana possession conviction records were previously sealed after the state enacted a measure in 2020 to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession offenses.
The new cases consist of both felony and misdemeanor convictions dating back three decades.
New Jersey courts have either dismissed or vacated an estimated 362,000 marijuana cases since July 1 and an additional 150,000 New Jersey residents may also be eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged in the near future.
These are the first of up to 360,000 cases and convictions that are eligible for vacation, dismissal and automatic expungement.