The governors of two states, Colorado and Illinois, have recently signed a law that further facilitates the ability to remove their records from those with previous cannabis convictions.
In Colorado, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 99. It further expands and streamlines the process of automatically sealing state records for those convicted of certain marijuana-related convictions and offenses, as well as other eligible offenses.
In 2017, state lawmakers enacted legislation that allowed people “convicted of misdemeanors for marijuana-related behaviors that are no longer illegal to seek the sealing of criminal records related to those convictions.” Unlike similar laws in several other states, the review and removal process does not start automatically in Colorado. In recent years, however, Governor Polis has used his executive authority to pardon several thousand Colorado residents convicted of low-level marijuana offenses (possession of two or fewer ounces of marijuana, he said). Colorado Office of Research).
In Illinois, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation (HB 4392) that amends state law so that courts can no longer deny petitioners’ requests to remove their criminal record only because of a failure in the trial. of marijuana drugs.
Previously, petitioners who wanted a qualified criminal conviction to be removed had to provide evidence that they had been tested for drugs 30 days prior to filing their petition and that they had ruled out the presence of cannabis or other controlled substances. . The new law states:[T]The court must not deny a request for removal or sealing … because the petitioner has filed a drug test done within 30 days prior to filing … indicating a positive evidence for the presence of cannabis within the body of the petitioner “.
Separately, the governor’s office has already used its clemency power to provide relief to more than 500,000 residents with low-level cannabis convictions.
NORML State Policy Director Jax James praised the passage of the new laws. “Adults should no longer be stigmatized or deprived of their rights because of convictions for marijuana-related activities that are no longer defined as crimes by law,” he said.
In recent months, state and local officials across the country have moved to remove or seal the records of more than two million people with previous cannabis convictions.
A summary of state laws providing for the elimination of marijuana convictions is available at NORML here.