CT to clear marijuana convictions for thousands of residents

CT to erase minor cannabis convictions for thousands of residents
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:06 PM EST
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(WFSB) – Marijuana has been legal in Connecticut for a year and a half, but low-level convictions for possessing it are still on people’s records.

That’s set to change in January thanks to the Clean Slate Law.

Eyewitness News talked with a man who will soon have his record wiped clean.

He’s one of the roughly 44,000 people affected by this.

Many were convicted of having a small amount of marijuana on them 15, 20, 30 years ago.

They did their time, but the record is still there.

Maybe it’s holding them back from getting a job or living somewhere during background checks.

I don’t think it should still be following me around,” said Jamie Willett.

In 2002, Jamie was arrested on a marijuana possession charge.

“I had about an ounce and a half on me,” Jamie said.

He admits it. He was convicted of possessing fewer than four ounces with intent to sell.

Jamie said he spent three months in jail.

Since then, he’s raised a family and works as a truck driver.

But that conviction continues to follow him 20 years later.

“I was a different person then. Most of us were,” said Jamie. “I’m sure a lot of people are having a lot of problems because of this.”

Jamie wants it off his record.

Marijuana has been legalized for nearly a year and a half.

It’s been decriminalized since 2015.

A relief for Jamie and others came this week.

Governor Ned Lamont announced low-level convictions will be erased from people’s records.

Attorney Jon Schoenhorn believes it’s the right time.

“Since something that used to be a crime isn’t a crime anymore, it makes sense that it be automatically erased from the record,” said Schoenhorn.

Here are the requirements:

  • A possession conviction of under four ounces will be erased if it occurred between 2000 and September 2015, when marijuana possession was decriminalized.
  • People will need to file a petition in court if the conviction was before 2000 or between October 2015 and June 2021.
  • A petition is also required if someone was convicted of possession with intent to use before July 2021, or if someone was convicted of selling marijuana and the amount was under four ounces or six plants grown inside someone’s home.

“For something that’s no longer a crime it shouldn’t follow them around like a millstone around their neck for the rest of their lives. It effects jobs, it effects family,” said Schoenhorn.

“It’s making things a lot easier. Hopefully get it done quickly,” Jamie said.

The 44,000 people won’t have to wait much longer for their slate to be cleaned.

They’ll be automatically erased on January 1.

Some will need to file a petition in court, depending on their conviction.