As the public perception of marijuana use has changed in recent years, so has the position of many governments. Many states are now loosening pot laws to allow for more freedom of use. But where does that leave those who were convicted of crimes before these new laws? Should they be held accountable for older laws that are no longer in place or enforceable? A felony pot conviction carries with it some serious consequences. It can affect your chances of renting a home, or getting a job, travelling outside the country, or getting citizenship.
Luckily, in many states, they are easing the path to having pot convictions expunged based on the new laws. In California, for instance, they recently passed proposition 64, an act that essentially legalized marijuana for recreational use. Under one provision, people with past convictions can apply to have them lessened or vacated, meaning thousands can move on with their lives.
The Unfortunate Truth
For the most past, the communities hit hardest by the war on drugs were ethnic communities and people of color. His includes many people who were awaiting citizenship. Those people have not been eligible to apply for citizenship because of their pot conviction. In fact, they even faced deportation through the stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Now, they can be free to not only live their lives without deportation, but improve their lives overall.
Unfortunately, there seem to be very few who are applying when compared to the number who were convicted. There may be many reasons for that. It could simply be that people are not aware that this is an option. It may also be that there is a fear that presenting themselves to the court may lead to other consequences, such as with their immigration status. The hope is that as more and more records get expunged, more people will come forward and allow themselves a chance at a better life.
To apply to have your pot conviction expunged, contact an attorney who specializes in expungement cases. They will examine your case and determine whether you qualify. Then, they will present your case to the court to get your conviction removed from the public record.
If you’re need of an expungement, the Law Office of Mark Herman can help. Reach out online or call 612-382-4545 for a free consultation.