Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a bill last week that will expunge or clear the records of citizens convicted of simple cannabis possession prior to 2015, which is when cannabis was decriminalized statewide, according to a Delaware Public Media report.
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Greg Lavelle and state Rep. Valerie Longhurst. Lavelle said the legislation will be a boon for people who were targeted by cannabis prohibition — previously, cannabis convicts could only apply for a pardon but, under the new law, expungement will be quicker and guaranteed.
“On that question, ‘have you been arrested and convicted,’ that’s on a form for an employment opportunity, you get to say no. It’s gone, it’s not part of your record anymore, and it really is that simple.” — State Sen. Greg Lavelle, in the report
According to state Sen. Lavelle, there are about 500 to 700 Delaware citizens who are eligible for expungement under the new law. The law only applies to people with just cannabis possession charges.
“If you’re a violent criminal, and often people may have multiple charges including possession of marijuana, that wasn’t our intent. It was to bring parity with the decriminalization law.” — State Sen. Greg Lavelle, via Delaware Public Media
The expungement process will require some paperwork and administrative fees.