By Steve Elliott
Thousands of state residents who have been busted for marijuana possession in the past now have the right to get their convictions erased after the Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the violation had been downgraded to the same level as a parking ticket.
The unanimous 7-0 ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, 31, a former resident of Manchester and Boston who had asked for his convictions to be overturned after the Connecticut Legislature in 2011 decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, reports Dave Collins at the Associated Press.
"It's a topic multiple states will have to be facing," said Menditto's attorney, Aaron Romano. "Because marijuana is being decriminalized across the United States, this issue needs to be addressed."
Last year, Colorado's second-highest court ruled that some people who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of pot can ask for those convictions to be thrown out under the state law which legalized recreational marijuana.
In 2011, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Legislature changed possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis from a misdemeanor, with potential jail time, to a violation with a $150 fine for a first offense and $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.