Marijuana and Your Arrest Record: What You Should Know
More than likely, you already know there’s a lot of talk about the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. However, as things now stand, it appears that the prospect of recreational weed becoming a reality won’t happen until sometime next year. No doubt many wonder how making pot legal will affect their arrest records.
Take this situation for example. Joe Smoker (not his real name) wound up with marijuana possession charges some time ago. The record haunts him – and has impacted his attempts to change jobs. With the potential for legalization, it seems a bit unfair that Joe will continue to experience a blemish on his criminal record.
Joe is by far alone. The ACLU presents some interesting statistics when it comes to marijuana issues. Although this information only covers the decade ending in 2010, you may find the following facts of interest:
- Black individuals facing possession charges are 2.8 times more likely to wind up in handcuffs than their white counterparts. (By now means does this infer that African-Americans use marijuana more than the Caucasian population.)
- Monmouth County showed the most disparity regarding what appears to be racial discrimination regarding arrests for marijuana possession charges. There, the ratio is 4.6 blacks for each white person. (In Hudson, the number is the lowest, at 2.3)
- In 2010, there were over 21,000 arrests for weed possession charges. As far as drug charges as a whole, this represented 43.4% of all drug arrests.
Legal Pot Could Impact Arrest Records
It would appear a no-brainer. If pot becomes legal, it should impact existing criminal records. One news article suggests that expungement should be automatic. In the meantime, you should know that some individuals have already expunged existing possession charges.
In a previous article, we already provided information concerning expungements as a means of wiping out your criminal record. Many have found it useful in making new beginnings.
However, there is another consideration. Did you know that the State of New Jersey has already decided not to prosecute any low-level marijuana cases for a while? This initiative was due to end in September. However, with the delay in legalizing weed, there’s a chance the program will be extended.
Meanwhile, you should know that New Jersey law enforcement officials have been one of the most aggressive agencies in pursuing marijuana possession charges.
As the push for cannabis legalization continues, it will be interesting to see what happens to existing cases and past offenders. Need information about this very important subject? Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone.