This year, New Jersey came very close to joining ten other states in legalizing recreational marijuana; but in March, lawmakers failed to pass the bill.
The sale and use of marijuana are still illegal in New Jersey. However, lawmakers are making a push to help individuals clear their records of past marijuana-related crimes.
The difficulty of expungement
Our state’s process for expunging criminal records is notoriously difficult. It involves several steps, including:
- Finding all of the records of the arrest
- Filing the paperwork correctly
- Attending an expungement hearing
This entire process is also very expensive.
If you have a marijuana charge on your record, you understand the challenges it brings. You might have trouble finding a job or housing among other things, and pursuing expungement on top of that can be a significant obstacle.
You could soon expunge your marijuana charges
Even though marijuana is not yet legal in New Jersey, lawmakers passed a bill that would:
- Make the expungement process easier for those with marijuana charges on their record
- Let individuals apply for immediate expungement by reducing wait times
- Eliminate the state application fee of $75
An average of one million people have been arrested and convicted on marijuana charges since 1990. These individuals would still have to make sure they are eligible to apply for expungement, but this new bill could help make the process of obtaining a clean record much easier.
Is this the first step to decriminalization?
Improving the expungement process is not decriminalization. However, it could be a significant step towards it.
While the future of marijuana legalization is still unknown, the updated expungement process could help give thousands of individuals across the state a second chance.
If you are looking to expunge your criminal record, please contact our attorneys for assistance.