Connecticut Governor Announced Expungement of Low-Level Cannabis Possession Records in Early 2023
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced the automatic expungement of low-level cannabis records for thousands in the state in early 2023. As part of Connecticut’s cannabis legalization bill, the state has already identified approximately 44,000 eligible marijuana possession cases that will qualify to be cleared at the beginning of next year. In addition, the governor’s office said that those individuals with other minor cannabis-related offenses on their record will be able to petition the courts to have their records sealed under a separate piece of legislation that passed earlier this year. The law is part of a “Clean Slate” program that officials anticipate will be fully implemented by the latter part of 2023.
Advocates and Lawmakers Calling for the Release of More Cannabis Prisoners Following that of Brittney Griner
There is a great deal of relief among advocates after the U.S. government announced it was able to secure the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russian custody. Griner served 10 months of a nine-year sentence that was imposed for cannabis possession in the country. However, the case has renewed calls for lawmakers to step up their efforts regarding those imprisoned here in the United States for the same type of low-level cannabis charges. Advocates also hope to see increased efforts to release other U.S. citizens who are currently imprisoned in other countries, including a teacher who is currently serving time in the Russian prison system over a medical marijuana charge. Griner’s case has been the focus of international attention, and advocates argued that the U.S. government would have been in a better position to secure the player’s freedom if it did not have similar federal laws in place for cannabis possession.
Recent Report Highlights Vulnerability of Cash-Intensive Cannabis Businesses
While federal cannabis banking reform remains in limbo, a new report highlights an issue that advocates have been verbal about for years; namely, that cannabis businesses having so much cash on their premises leaves them vulnerable to crime. Some have argued that it is the nature of the cannabis businesses that invite criminal activity, but the report from David Borden of StoptheDrugWar.org revealed that there are limited instances in which cannabis products were the only thing stolen from a retail marijuana business. The report examined data from 2017 to 2022 on burglaries at cannabis businesses in Washington state. The information was collected via a tracking system put into place by Uncle Ike’s, a cannabis dispensary based in Seattle. The end of 2021 saw a significant surge in cannabis robberies in Washington, with over 100 retail dispensaries being impacted over less than five months.