Alma Saravia was quoted extensively by Jay Lassiter for InsiderNJ on what to expect once legalization of marijuana finally happens in New Jersey. The article addresses concerns regarding the timeline, price and quality, the state’s ban on home cultivation, and the issues that individuals may experience when attempting to expunge past marijuana convictions.
Alma warns that the state is unprepared for the amount of expungement petitions that will occur once marijuana is legalized, and states that the current system can barely handle the existing traffic and needs an overhaul to avoid the process becoming a nightmare. She claims that “Most people will not be able to do an expungement petition themselves no matter how ‘easy’ the legislation claims (it is)… In my experience, the expungement process will be a nightmare unless there’s major funding for vitally needed changes to the law.”
Alma also discussed a case where she experienced the inefficiency of the process first-hand. She says:
“I filed an expungement for a health care professional. We went through two judges before the court granted the petition — eight months after I first filed the petition. It took the State Police six months to process this expungement order. This is typical. In order to file the expungement petition, the person must have detailed information on the arrest, the conviction, whether there was probation and or jail. Also, will the county prosecutor be permitted to oppose the petition? In my case, the prosecutor opposed the expungement petition so I had to write another brief. While it wasn’t a cannabis case, my case was a very low level non-criminal matter, which didn’t change the fact that it was still very time-consuming.”
This may make the process prohibitive for those whom cannot dedicate the time or money to complete the necessary steps or hire appropriate, trained counsel who have experience dealing with these issues.
Click here to read Jay Lassiter’s article in its entirety.