Up In Smoke: Murphy Vetoes Marijuana Expungement Bill

Steve Burns
August 25, 2019 - 10:38 am
Marijuana joint

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- If you live in New Jersey and have a marijuana conviction, your chance of quickly getting a clean record went up in smoke.

That's because Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed an expungement bill.

The Garden State couldn't get legal marijuana to the finish line, but this was supposed to be the consolation prize - making it easier for people with certain low-level criminal records to wipe those records clean, WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported.

Murphy vetoed the bill because he wants the process to be even easier, Burns reported,

Instead of jumping through several hoops: lots of paperwork, hiring a lawyer, petitioning a court, Murphy wants it to be automatic for anyone who has stayed out of trouble for at least a decade. 

"Nobody that I know - certainly not me - is opposed to automatic expungement. That's something we would all like to be able to flip a switch and you're expunged," Murphy said earlier this year.

While lawmakers figure out their next steps, Murphy is proposing out a stopgap soultion: Charges of distributing a small amount of pot would be sealed by the court ensuring those charges couldn't be used against the individual, Burns reported.

Lawmakers are expected to bring up the full legalization debate again early next year.