Connecticut Gov. Lamont To Erase 44,000 Low-Level Cannabis Possession Convictions

Zinger Key Points
  • The policy, which uses the automated erasure method, comes as a key part of a 2021 bill that Lamont signed into law.
  • Democratic Governor Kate Brown in Oregon is also pardoning all simple marijuana convictions at the state level.
Connecticut Gov. Lamont To Erase 44,000 Low-Level Cannabis Possession Convictions

Connecticut governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that around 44,000 state residents with cannabis possession convictions will have their records partially or fully erased in January 2023.

The policy, which uses the automated erasure method, comes as a key part of a 2021 bill that Lamont signed into law. The legislation aims to safely regulate the state's recreational cannabis program.  

“On January 1, thousands of people in Connecticut will have low-level cannabis convictions automatically erased due to the cannabis legalization bill we enacted last year,” Lamont, a Democrat, stated. “Especially as Connecticut employers seek to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings, an old conviction for low-level cannabis possession should not hold someone back from pursuing their career, housing, professional, and educational aspirations.”

Those who have had their records erased can let their employers, landlords and schools that the conviction never happened.

“Tens of thousands of Americans unduly carry the burden and stigmatization of a past conviction for behavior that most Americans, and a growing number of states, no longer consider to be a crime,” NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano commented. “Our sense of justice and our principles of fairness demand that public officials and the courts move swiftly to right the past wrongs of cannabis prohibition and criminalization.”

How To Receive Erasure? 

Obtaining erasure depends on the timeline of a conviction. For example, those convictions for possession of under four ounces of a non-narcotic, non-hallucinogenic substance imposed between Jan. 1, 2000 and Sep. 30, 2015 will be automatically erased on Jan. 1 2023. People included under this provision of the law don’t have to do anything to obtain erasure. 

Convictions that require filing a petition in Superior Court include:

  • Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279 for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance were imposed before Jan.1, 2000, and between Oct. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2021.
  • Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-267(a) for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia for cannabis were imposed before July 1, 2021.
  • Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-277(b) imposed before July 1, 2021, for manufacturing, selling, possessing with intent to sell, or giving or administering to another person a cannabis-type substance and the amount involved was under four ounces or six plants grown inside a person’s home for personal use.

The Clean Slate automated erasure system should be completely implemented in the second half of 2023.

Following Oregon 

Several weeks ago, President Joe Biden praised Democratic Governor Kate Brown in Oregon for pardoning all simple marijuana convictions at the state level.

On Nov. 21, Gov. Brown announced a pardon for prior offenses of simple cannabis possession impacting an estimated 45,000 individuals across the state and to forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees.

This came around six weeks after the White House announced the president will pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. In a tweet, Biden wrote that all states should follow Oregon’s example. And now, Connecticut did. Which state could be next?

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: The Office of Governor Ned Lamont on Wikimedia Commons and Alesia Kozik on Pexels

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