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Pima County Attorney files first petitions to expunge marijuana convictions

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:18 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona residents can now file to have marijuana convictions removed from their records.

Proposition 207, passed by voters in November, legalized recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

It also included a provision for those with certain possession convictions to have their records cleared. Courts began accepting those petitions on Monday, July 12.

“It is something so positive to work on,” said Pima County Attorney Laura Conover.

On Monday morning, Conover filed 14 petitions at Superior Court in Pima County.

“We want to be open to the public for inquiry about their prior conviction,” Conover said.

Conover said the application process is easy.

“I think all it takes is about a minute to submit the request for us and then we are doing all the work from there,” Conover said.

The application can be found HERE and includes basic questions like the applicant’s name, address, and case number.

“I encourage anyone who thinks they might qualify, to absolutely go for it,” she said.

Conover does urge people who have questions about their criminal legal status in Pima County to consult with an attorney before providing any information.

Pima County Public Defender Joel Feinman said he is working with clients to have their records scrubbed clean.

“For many of these people, they never served a day in jail. They plead guilty to the offense and received probation. What has been devastating was not the sentencing of the crime itself, but the collateral consequences. You get denied jobs, you get denied housing, you get denied bank loans, you get denied university admissions,” Feinman said.

Conover said the first petitions she signed came from the early 2000s.

“That really struck me that these individuals have been living with that on their record for 20 years,” Conover said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to take that and give it a clean slate and sign it away.”

Caroline Isaacs is the program director of the American Friends Service Committee.

She said her organization just learned within the last few weeks they, along with a handful of partners, will receive a multi-million dollar grant to help with community outreach and legal resources.

“There is quite a bit of funding associated with the sale of marijuana. So, there is actually a total, over three years, of four million dollars that was allocated through Prop 207 just for expungement and outreach,” Isaacs said.

As more applications come in, the Conover said she plans to expand her staff to help expedite the process.

“We want to be open to the public for inquiry about their prior conviction,” Conover said.

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