Vermont May Clear Past Marijuana Convictions

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

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