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Legalization Momentum: Courts Expunge 362K Marijuana Cases In NJ, Arrests Drop 90% In VA

The reduction in arrests indicates that public policy is working as intended and in a way that is consistent with post-legalization observations from other states

By Franca Quarneti via El Planteo

Marijuana legalization is gaining momentum in the United States, which is increasingly evidenced by decriminalization, reduced sentences and drops in cannabis-related arrests.

For example, in New Jersey, the courts have dismissed or annulled 362,000 cases related to marijuana. In addition, in the Richmond, Virginia area, cannabis-related arrests dropped by 90%.

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Courts dismiss cannabis cases in New Jersey

According to data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary, the state’s courts annulled or dismissed some 362,000 marijuana-related cases since July 1.

150,000 residents are now eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged by the courts. And, in case those records were not automatically cleared, people can still file an appeal for review with the court.

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As reported by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), these new measures come after the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order to dismiss and expunge marijuana-related offenses.

New Jersey is not the only state where this is taking place: In Illinois, authorities expunged 500,000 records, while in California, 200,000 others were expunged.

90% fewer marijuana arrests in Richmond, Va.

According to Ganjapreneur, cannabis-related arrests dropped by more than 90% in the city of Richmond, Virginia since the state’s cannabis law went into effect on July 1 and there were only 25 arrests. In contrast, during the same period last year there were 257 arrests.

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Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jean Michelle Pedini, director of NORML and executive director of the state chapter, explained, “The reduction in arrests indicates that public policy is working as intended and in a way that is consistent with post-legalization observations from other states.”

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