By: Marie Scarci | January 2, 2023
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont made a momentous announcement Sunday that more than 40,000 convictions related to marijuana possession have been expunged from the state's official records.
It marks an unprecedented effort for cannabis reform as Connecticut becomes one of many states rethinking their approach toward cannabis-related offenses. A couple of months ago Oregon also announced they would be pardoning over 45,000 citizens with minor drug charges.
Connecticut took a progressive approach towards cannabis reform when Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed legislation in 2021, giving the state government the power to expunge previous marijuana convictions from 42,964 criminal records with mass clemency.
Lamont stated in a Twitter post, “It’s one step forward in ending the War on Drugs and giving our citizens a second chance to achieve their dreams.”
This news arrives just before Connecticut's long-awaited launch of legal adult-use marijuana sales this week - marking another milestone for positive progress and reform in the US!
The Governor's office mentioned that those with minor drug convictions now have the opportunity to start fresh and move forward, as separate reform legislation has been passed allowing for petition of court-record sealing.
Governor Ned Lamont has recently announced a plan to grant clemency for individuals who have been convicted of cannabis offenses in Connecticut. This decision echoes the move made by President Joe Biden last October when he granted thousands of pardons related to federal marijuana possession crimes.
A White House official praised this announcement on Twitter as being consistent with their efforts towards justice reform regarding cannabis-related convictions on behalf of American citizens across the country. Unlike in Pennsylvania where they have rejected over 90% of citizens trying to receive clemency.
President Biden pardoned a select few individuals on Friday who was convicted of cannabis or other drug offenses. Despite this, many advocates are unsatisfied with the nature and scope of these pardons given there remain thousands incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes.
Connecticut is about to join the growing ranks of states with legal recreational cannabis; come January 10, adults throughout the state will legally be able to purchase marijuana for personal use. Nine dispensaries have been granted hybrid licenses by regulators and are ready to open their doors in pursuit of this major milestone.
In May, the governor took decisive measures to combat mental health issues in the state by also signing a budget bill that allows certain patients access to psychedelic-assisted treatments. These therapies utilize substances such as MDMA and psilocybin, which have become increasingly popular in recent years for their potential therapeutic properties.
Does the Governor have any plans to join his constituents in celebrations? Not immediately, according to Lamont himself who said “not right now” but suggested that anything was possible down the line!