Maine Governor Signs Bill Allowing Marijuana Possession and Cultivation Charges to Be Sealed

Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed into law a bill to allow those with convictions for possessing or cultivating marijuana to have the charges sealed (completely hidden) from their criminal record.

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Governor Mills has signed House Bill 2236 into law, following a 90 to 57 vote in the House of Representatives and a 27 to 8 vote in the state’s Senate.

The new law will implement a Criminal Records Review Committee recommendation to add to the definition of “eligible criminal conviction” for the Maine Revised Statutes, “which identifies what is considered an eligible underlying crime for a person to file a post-judgment motion to seal criminal history record information related to the conviction for that crime, any Class D crime related to unlawfully possessing or cultivating marijuana when that crime was committed prior to January 30, 2017, the effective date of Maine’s first adult use cannabis laws.”

In Maine, recreational marijuana was legalized by voters in 2016, with it officially taking effect in January, 2017. The law allows those who are at least 21 years old to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and grow up to three mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants. This new law indicates that anyone charges with marijuana possession or cultivation before it became legal will not be eligible to have the charges sealed from their record.

“Millions of Americans unduly carry the burden and stigma of a past conviction for behavior that most Americans, and a growing number of states, no longer consider to be a crime”, says NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Our sense of justice and our principles of fairness demand that public officials and the courts move swiftly to right the past wrongs of cannabis prohibition and criminalization.”

For the full text of HB 2236, click here.

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