Montpelier, VT: House and Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation to the Governor facilitating the automatic review and expungement of low-level marijuana convictions.
Senate Bill 234 establishes a process whereby those with certain marijuana-related convictions (possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to four mature plants) would have their convictions reviewed and automatically expunged. Under the measure, courts would have until the end of next year to clear all eligible criminal records. Proponents of the bill estimate that as many as 10,000 Vermonters will be eligible to have their records expunged.
The bill also decriminalizes certain marijuana offenses. Under current law, the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two plants for non-commercial purposes is not subject to penalty, but activities involving greater quantities are subject to criminal sanction. Senate Bill 234 reduces the penalty for offenses involving the possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana and/or the cultivation of three plants to a civil fine.
NORML’s State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf urged Republican Gov. Phil Scott to sign S. 234 into law “to ensure that minor offenders are no longer stigmatized and disenfranchised by the collateral consequences of a criminal record for having engaged in activities that are no longer a crime.”
For more information, contact Carly Wolf, NORML States Policies Coordinator.