In just over a week, Vermont’s adult-use cannabis law will go into effect. On July 1, those 21 and older will be able to possess up to an ounce of dried flower and grow up to six plants per residence. However, the state’s next step will not be to establish a regulated retail market. Instead, Vermont will focus on expunging the criminal records of those with past marijuana violations.
Vermont Takes Proactive Approach To Pot Convictions
Many states that have legalized adult-use marijuana are looking for ways to redress the past. If cannabis is no longer a crime, there’s no reason for minor drug offenders to live with their records or serve out harsh mandatory minimum sentences.
Marijuana convictions place serious burdens on people of all ages. Those with criminal records dating back to the ’60s and ’70s, for example, still can’t possess a firearm or cross the Vermont border into Canada. Young people with marijuana convictions can’t secure student loans for college or get decent jobs. These lifelong consequences follow minor marijuana offenders everywhere they go.
To address this issue, Vermont’s lawmakers made the possibility of expungement a centerpiece of their legalization bill. The law creates the opportunity for most people convicted of minor marijuana offenses to clear their past convictions. That opportunity will open up new ones in housing, work, education, and travel for thousands of people in Vermont.
Some Vermont Counties Have Already Held “Expungement Days”
In the lead up to the implementation of Vermont’s legal marijuana law, some counties have held “expungement days”. These events offer workshops on and free assistance with the criminal record expungement process.
During a May 11 Expungement Day in Windsor County, Vermont Law School professor and Director of the Center for Justice Reform Robert Sand, along with VLS students and volunteers, educated community members about the process.
By the end of the session, attendees were able to fully complete their petition for expungement. Two State’s Attorneys at the event, David Cahill (Windsor) and Sarah George (Chittenden), also offered to file petitions with the proper courts.
Throughout the event, spirits were high on the VLS campus. The Associated Press caught up with several expungement day attendees who expressed their happiness at having their past marijuana convictions wiped from the record.
“This is a beautiful time for me, getting it expunged in the great state of Vermont. I’m just here to you know rectify the past, right now today,” said Steven Martin, who received his charge back in 1998.
Glynn Wilkinson, a man with a 50-year-old pot charge said, “You can forget about it, but it never really goes away. Now it can actually go away.”
More Expungement Days To Come In Counties Across Vermont
Attorneys in other Vermont counties are also gearing up to hold their own expungement day events. According to David Cahill, there are almost 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions eligible for expungement. Felony cannabis charges or convictions for selling cannabis are not eligible to be expunged.
Anyone interested in attending one of the sessions and clearing their criminal record should bring the a government-issued photo ID, and any records of the offense; the original docket number is especially important.
DEA, Customs and Border Patrol Seek Contractors to Incinerate Narcotics
Virginia General Assembly Strikes Down Cannabis Law Reform Bills
New Jersey Cancels Scheduled Vote on Legalizing Marijuana
Smokable Cannabis Now Officially Available in Florida
Missouri Police Raid Hospital Room of Stage 4 Cancer Patient Using Cannabis
Oklahoma House Passes Medical Cannabis Protection Bill
Ohio Highway Patrol Confiscates 55 Gallons of CBD Oil During Traffic Stop
Colorado Researchers Seeking Volunteers to Get High and Drive
News4 days ago
Over 800 CVS Stores Will Start Carrying CBD Products
Culture4 days ago
What It Was Like Doing Mushrooms With Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir
News5 days ago
Pennsylvania Town Decriminalizes Marijuana, Sees Future in Legal Pot
Sponsored5 days ago
Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products
Health5 days ago
Study Finds Correlation of Daily High Potency Cannabis Use and Mental Illness
News6 days ago
Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police
News6 days ago
National Poll Finds 61 Percent of Americans in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana
News6 days ago
Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana Officially Repealed in Florida