For the first time ever, Arizonans will have the opportunity to clear their record of a minor marijuana charge no matter when or how it happened.
"February, 2011. I ended up getting pulled over and the people I was with had marijuana, grinder, pipe... because I was the driver, I got all of the charges," says Sabi Dominguez.
That is just one story. NORML Arizona says they predict somewhere between a quarter-million to a half-million eligible arrests, convictions and adjudications are expungable.
Offenses that qualify are:
- possessing, consuming, or transporting 2.5 ounces of marijuana (12.5 grams concentrate)
- low-level cultivation offenses (six marijuana plants)
- paraphernalia offenses
"There are so many people where this will be life-changing - where this will restore their ability to vote, their ability to participate in democracy, to run for office, to have a firearm, to be eligible for housing and for government assistance," says Julie Gunnigle, attorney, director of politics for Arizona NORML.
Nature's Medicines Dispensary is partnering with Arizona NORML, providing free legal clinics over the next two weekends at the dispensary with one-on-one help. You can officially file a petition for a petition starting July 12.
"At the time, I was young and medical marijuana cards were just starting out," says Jennifer Basaldua, seeking expungement.
Jennifer Basaldua says she was using marijuana for pain management after surgery.
"Migraines. I have problems with vertigo. I can't see. I'm legally blind on one side, I can't see," says Basaldua.
Basaldua hopes a clean record will lead to a job and other opportunities. Attorney Julie Gunnigle says that is why she is part of the process but points out that it could and should be much easier.
"Our 15 county attorneys and our attorney general could be finding those folks who are eligible and bringing these petitions on their own. They could be making this process uniform, universal and automatic. It is a policy choice that they're not redirecting the resources that were spent on enforcing cannabis laws to undoing that harm," says Gunnigle.
The four free legal clinics will be held at 2439 W. McDowell Road location on July 10-11 and 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer attorneys will be on-site to advise community members who wish to get their cannabis records expunged free of charge. Appointments can be made online at http://ow.ly/HmDK50Fn6Hu.