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Connecticut prosecutors struggle to expunge prior cannabis convictions

A marijuana plant is displayed during the 2016 Cannabis Business Summit & Expo last month in Oakland, Calif.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
A marijuana plant.

Language in the bill that legalized recreational marijuana in Connecticut has delayed record clearing for people with cannabis-related convictions.

Chief State's Attorney Patrick Griffin said the law passed in 2021 was not retroactive.

Griffin told lawmakers to pass legislation that applies the law to those currently serving time, on probation, or awaiting trial for cannabis-related offenses that occurred before the law took effect.

“What is legal today should not be penalized because it occurred prior to the passage of the bill,” Griffin said. “My objection and the objection of the Division of Criminal Justice is not pursuing these matters. It's simply we're asking to change the language of the bill.”

Representative Craig Fishbein said issues have arisen with people whose records should have been cleared already.

“Many times in family court I hear, he's been arrested for possessing marijuana and therefore, he shouldn't see his children,” Fishbein said. “That parade of horribles should end, given the policy that this state has provided.”

Thousands of cannabis-related charges have been expunged from Connecticut residents records already.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.