Nevada Funds Investigation on Implementing Automatic Record Sealing for Cannabis Convictions

Earlier this month, three nonprofits ( Southern Nevada Legal Aid Center, nevada legal servicesWhen american codeA total of $1.2 million was recognized from cannabis tax revenues from Clark County CommissionCode for America, which received $200,000 of this sum, has been tasked with investigating ways to implement automatic record seals in Nevada.

according to Nevada IndependentCongresswoman Benicia Considine, who is also director of development for Southern Nevada Legal Aid, explained how these beliefs affect her later in life. There was a woman who couldn’t make it to her son’s graduation ceremony. [for cannabis]said Considine. “A lot of people who live here in Las Vegas couldn’t get a job. There was no way I could get a job.

Sealing a record is often a long process with many steps and funds to achieve success. Nevada Independent They claim that less than 10% of those eligible for this process actually get their records cleared.

The Bay Area-based Code for America has nine months to detail what it needs to do to speed up this process.Many hope it will bring back positive attention Congressional Bill 192also known as the Nevada Second Chance Act, Passed in 2019.

AB-192 sponsor and former MP William McCurdy II (now Clark County Commissioner) describes one of the bill’s problems. “I wanted [AB-192] We couldn’t have automated stamps, but we still have records that haven’t been digitized, so that wasn’t possible,” McCurdy said.

AB-192 has brought many useful workshops to help Nevada residents clear past cannabis convictions, but there are still many who need help. “With the record, especially under the previous law, I could have committed a felony…and I never had trafficking or anything like that.” McCurdy said.

Prior to 2016, when voters legalized medical marijuana, a lawbreaker could, after three misdemeanors for possession of less than 1 ounce of cannabis (or more than 1 ounce on the first offense), was charged with a felony. Since 2016, possession of more than one ounce is a misdemeanor, and the sale of illegal cannabis products is a felony.

McCurdy said tougher cannabis laws have led to tougher convictions for black offenders. It reports that black people were arrested for cannabis offenses from 2001 to 2018. 3 times more often than Caucasians, and up to 8 times more often in some states.

“If you were someone [of color]Once upon a time, you were a drug addict and you were found in possession of the drug and most likely sentenced to a felony. ” McCurdy said“It was a war on drugs.”

Considine adds that the record sealing process is difficult to manage for those trying to do it themselves and difficult for legal professionals. “You give your time and you [eligible for record sealing]especially when people can, why are you still paying penalties for it [use cannabis] Does anyone have trouble with it now? ” Considine said.

Code for America helped Utah remove more than 500,000 records. February 2022It also supports other states like California and Oklahoma. The organization has had success so far, but Alia Toran-Burrell, an associate at Code for America and her program director, said each state is different and may require a different approach. . Ultimately, the latest laws are limited in what they can do. She said, “We need legislation because there are no other real mechanisms to enforce this at the state level.” barrel said.

The process of finding the best way to tackle record sealing requires a lot of thought to navigate the state’s current policies. “Do you think we’re focusing on the current landscape?” Burrell said. “What’s in the system? What’s in the policy? And then work with the states to determine if that’s what they want to move forward.”

Nevada does not allow expungement, but a new process aimed at sealing records could help many people with cannabis convictions on their records receive the freedom they deserve.

“They served time, they finished their probation, and they show how long they’ve been exemplary citizens since their probation ended,” Considine said. “And this is how they find better jobs, get promoted, become nurses, and go see their kids. [military] Go to a base, go to Canada… go to another country, whatever that’s stopping them. “

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