Past Cannabis Crimes
Resources for Aspiring Cannabis Workers
Past Cannabis Crimes FAQs
Can I work in the industry if I have been arrested and/or convicted for possession of cannabis?
Yes, you can work in the industry. The Connecticut cannabis bill also allows individuals to file petitions to erase records for the following cannabis-related convictions:
Possession of four ounces or less of cannabis (before 1/1/2000 or 10/1/2015 to 6/30/2021)
Use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia in connection with cannabis use (before 7/1/2021)
There will be automatic erasure of convictions from 1/1/2000 to 9/30/2015 for possessing less than four ounces of cannabis.
Can I work in the industry if I have been arrested and or convicted for possession of (non-cannabis) narcotics?
Yes, you can work in the industry. See question 13 for the offenses that disqualify you from applying for a license.
Can I work in the industry if I have been arrested or convicted of sale or intent to sell cannabis or other narcotics?
Yes, you can work in the industry. If your arrest or conviction was for four ounces or less of cannabis or for growing six or fewer plants at home (before 7/1/2021), you can also petition for your record to be erased. This record erasure does not apply if your arrest or conviction was for other narcotics.
Legal Analysis of Expungement of Cannabis Criminal Records
CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW OFFICE
RUFUS W. MCKINNEY, JR. ESQUIRE
2033 38TH ST. S.E. SUITE A
WASHINGTON D.C. 20020
(202) 422 – 7025
December 4, 2021
To: Dr. Frederick McKinney
Fr: Rufus W. McKinney, Jr., Esq.
RE: EXPUNGEMENT LAW FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION IN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
On June 22, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 16 into law legalizing and safely regulating adult use of marijuana.
The law in Connecticut legalizes possession of cannabis by adults of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person, and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car truck or glove box., beginning July 1, 2021
The Law also contains retail sales provisions by the end of 2022. Also included in the law are provisions for gifting and home cultivation; equitable investment goals; economic opportunities in targeted communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs (these investments are not limited to the cannabis market); a tax structure on the retail sale of cannabis; substance misuse prevention and recovery services; underage use prevention civil and criminal violations; advertising standards; safe product packaging; Municipality zoning of retail sales and use of cannabis; EEO “exemptions” and requirements of employers; a medical marijuana program; prohibitions for use in state parks, state beaches, and state waters; and the provision for automatic erasure of prior convictions occurring between January 1, 2000 and October 1, 2015 (included periods).
Automatic Erasure will commence on January 1, 2023.
This following is a step-by-step advisement for the process of expunging criminal records of those persons convicted of misdemeanor possession of cannabis in the years prior to January 1, 2000 and for time period subsequent to October 1, 2015 (excluded periods). The Pardon process for cannabis conviction erasures makes a distinction between persons with and persons without additional non-related cannabis convictions on their Rap Sheet.
Individuals convicted or arrested during the “excluded periods” will still have the opportunity to have their criminal records for marijuana possession expunged under the auspices of the Office of the Executive from the Connecticut Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, Pardon Division. (BOPP).
Starting on July 21, 2021, the Law prohibited state-legal cannabis possession of use from being grounds for revoking parole, special parole, or probation except in cases where there is an individual basis for finding that the person’s cannabis use would pose a danger.
Starting on July 21, 2022, the Law allows Individuals to apply for pardons for convictions for possession, drug paraphernalia, and sale and manufacture of four (4) ounces of cannabis or six or fewer plants occurring during the “excluded time periods” If the online petition is properly and fully completed, it must be granted. No fee may be charged.
Starting on January 1, 2023, automatic administrative erasures will begin for cannabis convictions during the “included periods” of January 1, 2000, through September 15, 2015.
With respect to All Other Erasures of cannabis convictions prior to January 2001 and subsequent to September 15, 2015, you must file an Application to BOPP for an Absolute Pardon of these cannabis convictions along with all other “cannabis non-related convictions” to be included in the Petition. This Application must be submitted online at:
Click on the appropriate link (ABSOLUTE PARDON or CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYABILITY)
The phone number for questions regarding all pardon applications is:
The Application Process for Absolute Pardon of Convictions:
An Absolute Pardon (full pardon) results in the erasure of your entire adult Connecticut criminal record. You cannot apply to pardon one offense and not another. Therefore, your entire criminal history will be considered for an Absolute Pardon.
What this means is that if you only have “cannabis eligible” erasure convictions on your record that fall within the (15) year inclusion period of the statute (2000-2015), those offenses will be automatically erased without further action on your part starting January 1, 2023.
If you also have other misdemeanor or felony convictions in addition to “cannabis eligible” convictions, you must wait until 3 years after misdemeanor convictions and 5 years after felony convictions to apply for a “full pardon.”
Further, if you only have “cannabis eligible” convictions on your record that fall outside of the (15) year inclusion period, you qualify to petition for a full pardon without regard to the (3) year misdemeanor and (5) year felony time guidelines beginning July 1, 2022.
Again, if your criminal convictions were only for qualifying cannabis crimes that occurred within the 15-year window of 2000-2015 you are not required to seek a full pardon. These marijuana crimes will automatically be erased, starting January 1, 2023.
But, for convictions of cannabis offenses prior to January 1, 2000, and after October 1, 2015, you must apply for a full pardon to get those crimes erased. A full pardon mandates submission of a request that includes the entirety of your criminal history of convictions for erasure of your complete record.
If you have been incarcerated, 90 days after release, and or 90 days after successfully having completed probation/parole supervision, you are eligible to apply for A Certificate of Employability online at the BOPP website.
A Certificate of Employability is a state-issued document recommending you for employment in spite of your past criminal record. It states that you are employable and makes it illegal for employers to deny employment based on your criminal record with a few exceptions.
Ordinarily, under Connecticut law you can only apply for an erasure of your record 5 years from your last felony conviction, and 3 years from the date of your last misdemeanor conviction.
The Legalization of Cannabis in Connecticut carves out an exception to these guidelines to the extent that you do not have to wait 3 years to apply for a full pardon to erase your misdemeanor marijuana convictions. You may apply for an eligible “cannabis related” conviction erasure of your record starting July 1, 2022.
Cannabis convictions falling within the 2000 – 2015-year period will be automatically erased without regard to convictions for other crimes. However, for cannabis convictions falling on either side of that (15) year period, and your record contains other convictions, you must apply for a full pardon that will consider your eligibility and approval for a full pardon based on an evaluation of the entirety of convictions on your record.
Applying for a Pardon (General Information)
The following is a description of the pardon process that remains in place in the State of Connecticut. This process is partially amended by the Legalization of Marijuana in its application of the pardon process, as discussed above:
(a). Absolute Pardon Eligibility
An Absolute Pardon, also referred to as a full pardon, results in the erasure of your adult Connecticut criminal record. You cannot apply to pardon one offense and not another. Therefore, your entire criminal history will be considered for an Absolute Pardon.
At least (3) years has passed since your most recent misdemeanor conviction; and/or at least (5) years has passed since the disposition of your most recent felony conviction; you are not on parole or probation; and you do not have any pending charges or other open cases against you in any other jurisdiction, state or federal.
(b). Date of Application
You may apply three (3) years after the disposition of your most recent Misdemeanor conviction and five (5) years after the date of disposition for your most recent Felony conviction. You cannot be on parole or probation.
(c). Submitting Applications for a Pardon
Applications and instructions are available on the agency’s website at: www.ct.gov/bopp or may be requested by calling (203) 805-6643.
(d). The Processing of Applications
Following receipt, (applications must fully be completed and must be filed online), staff will review your application to determine if you will be scheduled for an Expedited Review without a hearing, or a standard pre-screen review.
If you are convicted of non-violent offenses where there is no victim interest, you may be considered for an Expedited Review.
If you qualify for an Expedited Review, you may be granted an Absolute Pardon, without being required to be present.
At an Expedited Review, the board may choose to grant an Absolute Pardon, deny your application for a pardon, or continue your Application to a full panel hearing.
At a standard pre-screen, the Board will review your application to determine whether you should proceed to a full hearing and appear before the Board.
This entire process usually takes approximately 2-3 months, but processing time varies depending on the volume of Applications received.
In all instances, you will receive a letter with the results of these reviews, shortly after they occur. You may be required to appear even if you do not reside in Connecticut.
(e). Factors Taken into Consideration
The Board decides whether or not to grant a pardon, among other things, based on the severity of the offense, the impact on the victim and the victim’s input, your criminal history and how much time has passed since your most recent offense, and whether the public interest is served by pardoning your criminal record.
The State’s Attorney’s opinion may also be taken into consideration.
The Board will also consider what you have accomplished since your most recent offense, your work history, subsequent contact with the criminal justice system, character references and community service.
The Board may also consider any other pertinent information available in deciding whether to grant or deny a pardon.
Your chances each time you apply are based not only on your eligibility, but also on your suitability as well.
(f). Certificate of Employability
A Certificate of Employability, also known statutorily as a Provisional Pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation, is for employment and licensing purposes only.
This Certificate is an official State document certifying that despite your criminal history, you should not be prevented from getting a job or a license.
Any resident of Connecticut who has been convicted of a crime or crimes in any state or jurisdiction may apply for the Certificate of Employability.
If you are currently under supervision by the Parole and Community Services Division of the Department of Corrections and have successfully completed (90) days of supervision, you are eligible to apply for the Certificate of Employability.
Additionally, if you were incarcerated and are (90) days past discharge and are not currently under supervision and have no new arrest(s), you are eligible to apply.
Individuals currently under supervision must apply for the Certificate of Employability through the Court Support Services Division (CCSD) of the Judicial Branch of the State government.
The Pardon Process outside of the Automatic Erasures has a lot of moving parts. However, if properly completed the rewards are quickly realized. Many economically challenged and technologically challenged individuals may need real-time assistance in taking advantage of this novel approach to de-stigmatizing the widespread use of cannabis in American culture.
The State of Connecticut appears to be an East-Coast frontrunner on the Erasure of Convictions that fold into the economy a pathway of re-entry into the workplace for those who have been convicted of cannabis crimes and who have been generally prevented from participating in a social and economic self-progress.
The State of Connecticut is also to be recognized for allowing due process redress of felons and misdemeanants in the Pardon Process that addresses fundamental social and human needs that completely cut the ties to degradation, humiliation and unfair economic treatment due to past convictions that no longer serve as an impediment to an individual’s continued compliance with rehabilitative goals and societal expectations.
With respect to the sales tax generated into the State coffers, it is foreseeable that there will be a redistribution of those tax dollars for the benefit of social and economic goodwill in the form of re-investments in human infrastructure, education and business interests that support job training, childcare and employment. Also, it is foreseeable that there should be administrative mechanisms of disbursement in place that favor assisting residents of the Connecticut to apply for these opportunities, starting with the Applications for the Pardon Process.
Rufus W. McKinney, Jr., Esq.
SAMPLE LIST OF FORMS AND DOCUMENTS ATTACHED THAT ARE REQUIRED FOR SUBMISSION TO COMPLETE THE ONLINE PARDON APPLICATION
1). INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CRIMINAL HISTORY REPORT (RAP SHEET).
2). PRINTED SAMPLE OF ONLINE PRE-ENROLLMENT FORM
3). PRINTED SAMPLE OF ONLINE BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
4). PINTED SAMPLE OF ONLINE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD REQUEST FORM
5). PRINTED COPIES (3) OF ABSOLUTE PARDON REFERENCE QUESTIONAIRES
TO BE SIGNED AND NOTOARIZED BY THE INDIVIDUALS SELECTED. THIS
FORM ONCE RECEIVED BACK BY YOU SHOULD SCANNNED INTO YOUR PDF
ABSOLUTE PARDON PACKAGE SO IT CAN BE INCLUDED IN YOUR ONLINE
SUBMISSION. ONE (1) PERSON RELATED TO YOU IS PERMITTED TO
SUBMIT A LETTER OF REFERENCE ON YOUR BEHALF. IF YOU CHOOSE
TO HAVE A RELATIVE SUBMIT A REFFERENCE LETTER, THE REMAINING
(2) REFERENCES MUST COME FROM `OTHERS NOT RELATED TO YOU.
OTHERWISE, ALL (3) REFERENCE LETTERS MAY COME FROM ANY
SOURCE NOT RELATED TO YOU.
APPLICATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.ct.gov/bopp
OR may be requested by calling (203) 805-6643.