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Connecticut Can Erase Past Marijuana Convictions

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that persons arrested in Connecticut for possession of small amounts of marijuana have been given the right to get their convictions erased because the state decriminalized misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2011.

The 7-0 ruling was due to a case involving Connecticut resident Nicholas Menditto. A Connecticut prosecutor and Menditto’s lawyer said the decision affects thousands of people who have misdemeanor marijuana convictions in the state.

“It’s a topic multiple states will have to be facing,” said Menditto’s attorney. “Because marijuana is being decriminalized across the United States, this issue needs to be addressed.”

Connecticut’s Governor and legislators, in 2011, changed marijuana possession of less than a half ounce from a misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence to a violation with a $150 fine for a first offense and fines of $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.

“The legislature has determined that such violations are to be handled in the same manner as civil infractions, such as parking violations,” was written in the ruling. “The state has failed to suggest any plausible reason why erasure should be denied in such cases.”

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