As the state works out its new commercial cannabis market details, New Jersey has canceled or dismissed tens of thousands of cannabis convictions.
According to a statement released Monday evening, the state’s judiciary has handled 88,000 cases in the first wave of the projected 360,000 people who are eligible for expungement.
Even though a case has been vacated or dismissed, it must still be purged. This is the final step in the process of clearing a person’s record. According to the judges, this phase will begin in the coming months.
A mechanism for revoking, erasing, and dismissing certain marijuana charges from people’s records were laid out in a state Supreme Court order announced earlier this month.
Charges include cannabis possession, selling less than one ounce, drug paraphernalia possession, driving while intoxicated, failing to hand over marijuana, and consuming cannabis while in a vehicle.
The order brings the marijuana decriminalization law’s promise to fruition. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a package of bills legalizing marijuana in February.
One bill established the basis for legal marijuana sales to people aged 21 and over while another abolished all marijuana arrests and fines.
Because state regulators are currently establishing rules and regulations for the cannabis sector, it will be months before sales begin. As a result, old marijuana-related criminal charges may be dropped sooner rather than later.
New Jersey Regulators Adapt To New Regulations
In the following months, the judiciary will automatically delete any convictions or cases that have been vacated or dismissed. Moreover, according to a news release, the court is developing an electronic system that will allow people with criminal histories to get certificates indicating that their offenses have been wiped.
Previously, the state of New Jersey had a cumbersome expungement method. Several reforms have already been implemented, including eliminating filing costs and the transfer of the procedure online. The entire system will eventually be automated.
Due to years-old charges, people with criminal records may have difficulty finding work, housing, or obtaining student loans. As a result, activists seeking social justice have campaigned for and applauded reforms that made expungements more accessible.
The injunction covers historical records and pending cases, those awaiting sentencing, and those presently serving jail, probation, or parole sentences.