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Connecticut to Erase Cannabis Convictions for 44K Residents

Gov. Ned Lamont announced this week that thousands of residents will see their cannabis possession convictions either fully or partially erased as part of the 2021 law that legalized use of the substance.

(TNS) — Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday, Dec. 6, that 44,000 residents will see their cannabis possession convictions fully or partially erased as part of a 2021 law that legalized the adult use of cannabis products.

This means residents who then have their records erased may now tell employers, landlords, and schools that their conviction never occurred.

"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 said in a statement. "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."

How convictions will be erased will depend on when the convictions occurred.

Convictions of possessing less than four ounces of a non-narcotic, non-hallucinogenic substance between January 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2015, will be automatically erased on January 1, 2023. This means people in this category to not need to do anything to have their conviction erased.

People do need to file a petition in Superior Court to have convictions erased for the following:

Convictions for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance imposed before Jan. 1, 2000, and between Oct. 1, 2015 and June 30, 2021.

Convictions for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia for cannabis imposed before July 1, 2021.

Convictions for manufacturing, selling, possessing with intent to sell, or giving or administering to another person a cannabis-type substance of less than four ounces or six plants grown inside a person's home for personal use before July 1, 2021.

Lamont's statement said criminal justice agencies in the state's judicial and executive branches are continuing to implement the complex and costly information technology upgrades needed to automatically erase more eligible criminal records in addition to cannabis convictions. His office said the so-called Clean Slate automated erasure system is expected to be fully implemented during the second half of 2023. More than $5 million has been implemented so far in the upgrades.

His office added that the General Assembly may be required to interpret some issues with the law in the upcoming session.

People are eligible to have other types of convictions erased under the Clean Slate law. Those eligible must not have had any other criminal convictions for seven or ten years depending on the conviction to be erased, have completed sentences for all convictions and meet other criteria. Offense eligible for erasure include most misdemeanors, most Class D and Class E felonies, and most unclassified felonies with a prison sentence of five years or less.

More information on the Clean Slate and cannabis erasures, including implementation updates and instructions on how to file petitions, will soon be posted on a new state website.

(c)2022 The Day (New London, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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