The New Jersey judiciary vacated or dismissed nearly 88,000 cannabis convictions or pending cases since July 1, following the decriminalization of some cannabis-related offenses.
The cases are the first of about 360,000 identified by the judiciary in superior and municipal courts as eligible for automatic vacation, dismissal and expungement under the decriminalization law effective on July 1.
After vacating convictions or dismissing cases, the judiciary will automatically expunge those cases in the coming months.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner issued an order July 1 that pending cases for certain eligible offenses are to be dismissed, and warrants for failure to appear are to be rescinded.
The eligible fourth-degree and disorderly persons offenses relating to cannabis as well as hashish include distribution up to a certain quantity, possession up to a certain quantity, possession of paraphernalia; use or being under the influence of cannabis or hashish; and operating a motor vehicle while in possession of cannabis or hashish.
Related violations of probation or pretrial monitoring will also be vacated, and driver’s license suspensions or revocations for failure to appear will be rescinded. Cases that are pending sentencing or have completed sentencing are to be vacated and dismissed.
To allow staff to provide a certification of expungement to members of the public who seek to find out whether their case has been expunged, the state judiciary is also creating an electronic system.