NYC to Seal Marijuana Misdemeanor Records for Roughly 350 Individuals


In a selection that attorneys say could open the door to other class-action lawsuits, a petition has been authorized to seal the criminal records of 350 persons with marijuana misdemeanors in Manhattan.

Manhattan District Lawyer Cyrus Vance Jr. worked with nonprofit and pro-bono lawyers from groups like the Legal Help Society to make the mass record sealing a reality. The move was set into motion by a transform to New York’s Raise the Age Act. That 2017 legislation stated that persons with two or significantly less nonviolent offenses would be eligible to have their records sealed right after a decade if they had no new offenses on their record.

But as superior as that provision sounded, it has been complicated for folks to access on their personal. 1,200 persons have managed to get their records wiped clean, out of the estimated 600,000 who are eligible for the system. That is due to barriers that stand in the way of typical citizens, who may possibly not be conscious of the policy transform, or have troubles navigating the bureaucracy that is obligatory to claim the record sealing.

New York has taken a singular method to marijuana policy more than the previous year, a period that started with Governor Andrew Cuomo pledging to legalize recreational cannabis for the duration of his reelection campaign. Soon after considerably hype, the program ran aground more than troubles of social justice and tax structure. But a handful of weeks ago, legislators somewhat resuscitated the state’s want to transform marijuana policy when they passed a bill that decriminalized possession of modest amounts of cannabis, lowering penalties to $50 for one particular ounce and $200 for amounts in between one particular and two ounces.

But though policy debates raged in Albany, regional jurisdictions in New York had been also taking into consideration measures that would dismantle damaging Drug War policies. In April, the New York City Council deemed a bill to ban several employers from instituting mandatory drug tests for workers. It ended up getting passed by a vote of 40 to four, and will apply even to corporations whose headquarters are positioned outdoors of New York state. The council also passed a bill that bans persons on probation from getting tested for marijuana, a prevalent parole and probation violation that can have disastrous effects on a person’s job and housing prospects.

Considerably of the push to eliminate marijuana offenses from the state’s criminal justice method is primarily based on the increasing acceptance of the reality that considerably of the war on drugs was racially motivated. While usage prices have largely been shown to be constant across racial groups, Black and Latino folks have regularly been arrested and convicted at greater prices than whites. That disparity led one particular group of Black lawmakers to threaten to oppose Cuomo’s legalization plans if they did not contain enough plans to right previous marijuana-associated racial injustice.

The Wall Street Journal short article announcing the mass record sealing quoted a 43-year-old single father named Devin whose two 1997 marijuana possession misdemeanors had been proving prohibitive in his job search. “I really feel vindicated and grateful,” he stated. “Everyone in my family members had superior jobs, and I’m attempting to stick to in their footsteps. If I can get a job with the city, I’ll be performing even much better than I’m performing now.”


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