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The New Mexico Judicial Branch Wants the Cannabis Expungement Procedure Modified.

by Therin Miller | October 10, 2022

The Albuquerque Journal says that the judicial branch of New Mexico is attempting to alter the state's guidelines for expunging cannabis convictions. Shannon Bacon, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said that the program should compel people to submit their expungement applications rather than needing the judicial branch to identify the instances.

The adult-use cannabis bill passed by the Legislature contained the expungement clauses. During the state's impending 60-day session, Bacon hopes that lawmakers will consider his concerns.

Since many people with convictions for offenses connected to cannabis were also convicted of other crimes, forcing the judicial branch to review criminal records to determine eligibility for expungement, according to Bacon, has proven to be unworkable in practice.

She continued by saying that several prosecutors and law enforcement organizations, particularly in southeast New Mexico, have attempted to block the expungement of some cannabis convictions from records by using a lawyer's objection clause.

Whether there is a cannabis charge or not, judges "spend incalculable hours addressing challenges to this procedure," she told the committee.

According to Barry Massey, spokesman for the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, neither information on the number of residents who have had their cannabis-related convictions erased since the law went into effect nor information on the number of objections filed by prosecutors before a deadline of July 1 is currently available.


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