STATEWIDE- As Maine moves closer to having retail cannabis stores, lawmakers are looking into expunging past convictions for cannabis related crimes.
“You know it’s really too bad to have something like that hanging over their head” Senator James Dill said.
He’s one of the sponsors on a bill that would expunge cannabis related crimes for things that are now legal.
“There’s been a lot of controversy about this” he added. “I see on local surveys that it’s pretty much 50-50.”
If convictions are expunged, they will be permanently deleted from the record.
A similar bill that would only seal convictions has also been put forward.
“The difference is once its gone, it’s like it never ever happened” Dill explained. “If it’s sealed it just means ‘yeah this happened’ and it’s much more difficult to get to, but it’s still there.”
Paul McCarrier, the president of Legalize Maine supports expunging past cannabis convictions saying it prevents them from getting jobs or access to certain federal services.
“We should not let something that should have never have been a crime in the first place hold them back from accessing those services like every other responsible citizen” he told us.
Dill says with multiple bills making the way through the process, it’s unclear what the final bill will look like.
But it’s clear, he says, one such bill will make it through the legislature.
If a bill were to be approved, it wouldn’t go into effect until around September.