New Jersey Is Expunge A High Volume Of Past Cannabis Convictions
This past week the New Jersey Judiciary released info about the state expunging over 362,000 marijuana cases. This process began on the 1st of July. Which was for legislation that was put into motion. Its purpose is to mandate relief for people who have been convicted of cannabis crimes. The courts also said that they will be starting a public education campaign in the near future. This will assist even more people to comprehend the opportunities for relief under the law.
So with this, close to 1,200 people have also been freed from probation since their cannabis expungements were processed. At one time the court predicted that around 360,000 people qualified for relief under the new legislation. So as it stands it seems that the review process has adequately recognized most of those cases.
Much of this was initially reported by NJ.com which came after Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner issued an order in July. Furthermore, this also makes it more concrete that pending marijuana cases must be dismissed. In addition to a failure to appear warrants must be rescinded.
“Cases with offenses eligible for expungement include certain marijuana or hashish charges alone or in combination with the following: possession of drug paraphernalia; use or being under the influence of a controlled, dangerous substance; and failure to make lawful disposition of a controlled, dangerous substance,” the Judiciary said in its update on Thursday.
Those who aren’t instantly qualified for expungement can still file a motion for judicial review, it said. The Administrative Office of the Courts also plans to launch an “awareness campaign” on September 20 to “inform the public of the opportunities available through the Marijuana Decriminalization Law.”
What’s Next For Cannabis Expungement In New Jersey
Back in February Gov. Phil Murphy put his name on a companion marijuana legalization. As well as decriminalization bills at that time.
The bill was required to pass the former bill after voters approved a reform referendum. Which took place during the 2020 election in November.
“With our new cannabis laws, we are turning the page on the failed War on Drugs and ensuring social justice here in New Jersey,” the governor said in a tweet about the recent record clearing moves.
Independently state officials in New Jersey have been taking a more hands-on approach to implementing cannabis reform. Especially ever since the legalization bill was passed. At the time attorney general Gurbir Grewal (D) advised prosecutors to dismiss cases for cannabis-related crimes.
Which came after Gov Murphy signing the legalization bill. As well the attorney general issued separate guidance for law enforcement on how to advance under the updated laws. The attorney general also urged prosecutorial discretion for marijuana cases in earlier memos before the legislation was officially signed.
Final Thoughts On Marijuana Expungemnents In New Jersey
The former attorney general also took measures to guarantee that people aren’t exploiting provisions of the legalization law. Specifically, before retail sales begin. Back In June, he delivered warning letters to companies that were effectively circumventing the state’s marijuana laws. This was done by “gifting” cannabis in exchange for non-marijuana-related purchases. For example such as expensive treats such as cookies, brownies, and stickers.
Offering a cannabis present is allowed for adults 21 and older under New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis bill. Yet a large number of businesses have supposedly leveraged that policy by giving away “free” cannabis products. Mainly to people who buy other items like snacks and baked goods.
At the moment No retail marijuana businesses have been licensed. Specifically, since the state passed recreational legalization in early 2021. Yet state officials approved the initial rules for the program back in August that will set up New Jersey’s retail market.
Over 70 percent of the districts in New Jersey decided to prevent cannabis businesses from operating in their area. However, voters haven’t had a personal voice in the local arrangements. Currently, local officials are making the choice through city councils.
That said, elected officials from different areas who do support cannabis commercialization chose to enact a ban ahead of an August 22 deadline. This would be simply to give themselves more time to develop individualized regulations before greenlighting marijuana companies.
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