Populous Arizona County Files to Expunge Cannabis Arrest Records



Arizona is on observe to relocating in a positive course and righting the wrongs of the War on Medications. Cannabis-relevant arrest documents can wreak long lasting damage—thwarting work alternatives, housing or even scholar loan programs.

On March 7 of this calendar year, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) issued a press launch, saying the expansion of endeavours to assist the regional neighborhood as a result of expungement of hashish arrest information, as nicely as a numerical milestone for the area.

As of that date, MCAO experienced filed about 10,000 petitions to expunge suitable shut conditions involving cannabis. The majority—over 7,000 of all those petitions—were filed in situations taken care of by the office environment considering that 2016. MCAO associates pointed out that they restricted the filings to about 500 a 7 days to stay away from mind-boggling the court docket technique. 

This is most most likely a reaction to the expungement program’s sluggish start very last calendar year, but the MCAO is self-assured the approach is refined and nicely underway, and that they will be capable to make significant development. 

People in Arizona with specified cannabis-related convictions on their records became qualified to have their prison records expunged, or cleared. The provisions are offered beneath Proposition 207, or the Arizona Harmless and Smart Act. The approach commenced quite a few months back.

Starting off the day the new regulation went into effect, the MCAO began proactively filing petitions to expunge the convictions for qualified men and women who experienced beforehand been billed. These petitions provided men and women convicted of specific cannabis-relevant offenses and folks billed with a hashish offense who productively done a diversion application but nonetheless experienced an arrest and dismissal on their criminal record.

“I think that the will of the voters ought to be carried out as efficiently as achievable,” mentioned Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel. “My workplace is functioning diligently to proceed to establish these scenarios and assist people today who have a ideal to have their information expunged beneath this voter approved legislation.”

The MCAO cited “resource limitations,” forcing them to prioritize the most modern situations. 

In addition to filing for expungement proactively, MCAO also created a community site exactly where people can talk to prosecutors to assessment their circumstance. If they are eligible, a MCAO representative can file a petition to expunge their conviction.  

KTAR reviews that those people who were being arrested, billed, convicted or acquitted of specified hashish-associated offenses had been ready to implement on the web to the Top-quality Courtroom to have their documents erased. There is no payment to file the petition.

For each the legislation, expungement petitions are minimal to a few offenses:

  • Possessing, consuming or transporting 2.5 ounces or a lot less of cannabis—of which not extra than 12.5 grams is in the sort of focus.
  • Possessing, transporting, cultivating or processing no more than 6 cannabis plants at the filer’s primary home for particular use.
  • Possessing, utilizing or transporting paraphernalia “related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing or use of hashish.”

If a request for expungement is granted by the court docket, the situation file and legislation enforcement records linked to the demand will be sealed and not offered to the community.

The MCAO furnishing the pursuing numbers to emphasize the updates:

  • Due to the fact July 12, 2021, MCAO filed 10,607 expungement petitions in shut conditions, which includes 1,094 petitions produced from 1,340 inquiries initiated via the general public web page. 
  • The business office has also responded to about 1,186 petitions submitted by persons, either them selves or via an lawyer.

Quickly following the certification of the election, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Business filed motions to dismiss pending circumstances in Maricopa County affected by the new legislation. 

The MCAO proactively filed to dismiss or drop in excess of 5,000 charges linked to the use, transportation or cultivation of grownup-use cannabis.