Massachusetts National Day of Expungement to help clear marijuana convictions

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Legalization of marijuana in the state means that work continues to help those convicted of pot crimes clear their records with the Massachusetts National Day of Expungement Oct. 27 in Boston.

"There's still people in jail for processing, consuming and/or distributing cannabis,"  Kamani Jefferson of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council said Monday. "On top of that, those folks who have been released still have records for activity now deemed legal."

The event is set for 6 to 9 p.m. at District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., according to the eventbrite.com listing of the event. The event will include explanations of how to clear records, job resources, question-and-answer sessions with Suffolk County district attorney candidates and voter registration, the listing said.

The Massachusetts National Day of Expungement session is free but seating is limited, so click here to register. Massachusetts voters chose to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2016 and for medicinal use in 2012 by approving election ballot questions.

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Eliminating convictions related to the now legal marijuana is considered key in helping such individuals get access to jobs. 

The Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC) is a nonprofit that works to ensure that the marijuana industry is safe for large and small markets and that the products available to consumers have variety and quality.

"MRCC is dedicated to assisted communities that were harmed by the war on drugs and expunging records is incredibly important for that happen," Jefferson said.

Misdemeanor marijuana convictions can be expunged. The felony marijuana convictions that can be expunged are those that occurred not less than seven years before the petition for expungement is filed and involve a felony that wasn't a crime against a person, he said.

"Expungement is one important way to acknowledge and address the realities of the drug war," said Shaleen Title, a member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. "It allows people with drug convictions to live without their record following them and putting up additional obstacles. I commend the organizers of National Expungement Day for their work."

Thirty states and Washington D.C. allow marijuana for medical use. Nine states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

State are taking different approaches. California officials consider expungement a way to redress wrongs of marijuana convictions.

"In some (California) jurisdictions those affected are being counselled that they will be able to file the petitions without having to pay for an attorney, take time off work to attend court or file time consuming petition," newsweek.com reported Feb. 1, 2018.

Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire and Oregon have made it easier to clear some marijuana conviction records related to possession, cultivation or manufacture, generally from public databases, huffingtonpost.com reported last year

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