Tax and Regulate

N.J.: Gov. Murphy signs “clean slate” expungement bill into law!

New law sets the stage for automatic expungement

On Monday, in addition to referring legalization to voters, the New Jersey Legislature passed a reworked bill to expunge or seal thousands of past convictions, including marijuana charges. Just two days later, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law.

This new law removes a scarlet letter that has derailed countless lives. Marijuana convictions can make it difficult to get housing, jobs, professional licensing, and to further one’s education. With 62% of New Jersey voters supporting legalization, it is particularly nonsensical to haunt individuals for life for using cannabis.

S.4151 includes several improvements Gov. Murphy requested when he conditionally vetoed a prior version, along with a few tweaks from the legislature.

Among other changes, the new law will:

  • Require the courts to implement an automatic sealing process for most marijuana offenses;
  • Set up a task force to make recommendations on the automatic sealing process;
  • Allow individuals who have completed their sentences for lower-level marijuana offenses to apply for and be granted expungement while awaiting automatic sealing;
  • Remove fees for expungement; and
  • Allocate $15 million for implementation.

For more details, check out this article.

This is an important step forward to improving New Jersey’s marijuana policies. But, more action is needed to bring justice to the Garden State’s marijuana laws. New Jersey can save 30,000 individuals the trauma of arrests between now and Election Day by decriminalizing marijuana in the lame duck session. Let lawmakers know you want them to stop the arrests.

Thank you for raising your voice for sensible, humane marijuana policies!

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General

N.Y.: Gov. Cuomo signs decrim expansion bill!

Ask your lawmakers to support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adult use.

Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed A08420 into law, which will fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. The law will take effect in 30 days.

This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. It also reduces the penalty for possessing about an ounce of cannabis from a $100 fine to a $50 fine. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.

While this improved decriminalization law is an important step forward, there is still work to be done to improve New York's marijuana laws. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass a legalization measure before the session adjourned.

The majority of New Yorkers support legalization. Let your lawmakers know you want them to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use in 2020.

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Tax and Regulate

Legalization + social justice in Michigan

If you live in Michigan, ask your state legislators to support automatic expungement for low-level marijuana offenses.

For decades, marijuana prohibition destroyed lives and harmed communities in Michigan. Fortunately, voters said enough is enough and passed Prop 1 last year. As the state now moves forward with implementing a legal marijuana market, we must take steps to undo past injustices and support those who have been most impacted by punitive marijuana laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has publicly called for prior low-level marijuana offenses to be erased from individuals' criminal records. And now, state Sen. Jeff Irwin is sponsoring legislation, SB 263, to automatically expunge prior marijuana use and possession convictions, which could affect nearly 250,000 residents in the state.

Send a letter to your state legislators and ask them to support this important legislation.

In a related update, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently released rules to implement Prop 1's social equity provisions. Residents of the 19 cities in which marijuana arrests rates were disproportionately higher than the rest of the state will be eligible for technical assistance, fee reductions, and educational resources to help them get a leg up in obtaining a marijuana business license. You can find a list of the cities and more details about the new regulations here.

As Michigan finds itself in an exciting new era of legalization, we cannot leave behind those who have suffered as a result of prohibition. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking steps to address these issues, and we will continue monitoring the state's progress.

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Tax and Regulate

New York: Legislature adjourns without passing a legalization measure

Ask Gov. Cuomo to sign improvements to decrim.

After months of debate this legislative session on how the state will approach legalization, the legislature adjourned this week without reaching a conclusion.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger's Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was unable to gain enough support in the Senate to receive a vote before the legislature's deadline.

However, the legislature did approve improvements to New York's decriminalization cannabis policies.

Lawmakers passed legislation to fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.

Please ask Gov. Cuomo to sign A08420!

It is unfortunate that despite the majority of New Yorkers supporting legalization, the legislature failed to act this session. It is past time to end cannabis prohibition in New York. Let your lawmakers know you want them to end prohibition and replace it with a system where marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.

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