marijuana convictions

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Oregon: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Oct. 1; Past Convictions Can Be Cleared

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon wasn't the first state, or the largest, to legalize marijuana. But when it begins retail cannabis sales next month, the state will blaze a new trail, because it will consider applications to clear the record of past marijuana convictions.

Paperwork which would forever seal old pot offenses is now available in Oregon, thanks to a new law, and those who complete the process can legally say to any employer, landlord or anyone else who asks that they've never been convicted or cited for any drug crime at all, reports Kirk Johnson at The New York Times.

Fifteen years ago, when Erika Walton, then in her 20s, handed a bong to someone who turned out to be a police officer, she was cited for marijuana possession. She paid the fine, but the violation continued to haunt her as part of her record.

"It's taken away a lot of my life," Walton said as she inked out her fingerprints, which Oregon requires for sealing the file. Walton said the minor citation cost her when she had to disclose it on job applications and for volunteer positions at her children's school.

Colorado: Appeals Court Approves Retroactive Reversal of Marijuana Convictions

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Residents of Colorado who were convicted of marijuana possession before recreational legalization measure Amendment 64 was passed may be eligible to have those convictions overturned, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled.

Under Amendment 64, as of January 1, adults 21 and older are allowed to buy up to an ounce of cannabis. But with more than 9,000 marijuana possession cases being prosecuted each year until then, thousands of state residents are now wondering how legalization impacts their previous convictions, reports RT.com.

A three-judge state appeals court panel on March 13 ruled that part of an earlier decision in a case against a Colorado woman sentenced in 2011 for marijuana possession should be vacated.

If "there has been a significant change in the law," there can be post-conviction relief, the appellate court wrote.

"Amendment 64, by decriminalizing the personal use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, meets the statutory requirement for 'a significant change in the law' and eliminates and thus mitigates the penalties for persons convicted of engaging in such conduct," the judges wrote.

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