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A clean slate: Phoenix event gives legal help to expunge marijuana-related arrests from criminal records

When recreational marijuana was legalized in Arizona, it also helped people with prior marijuana-related arrests clean their records.

One nonprofit held a free event in Phoenix on April 17 to help expunge people's records to give them a clean slate.

In 2011, Carlos Diaz says officers found the leftovers of a small joint and charged him with a misdemeanor.

"They looked and under my passenger seat they found a roach - a marijuana cigarette roach," Diaz said.

Now, because of new cannabis laws, he can have that record expunged.

"There was a couple of jobs that I would have gotten the job if I didn’t have that charge on it," Diaz said. "I mean even though it’s a misdemeanor, it still shows up as marijuana."

On Saturday morning at Green Goods Dispensary, those with marijuana-related criminal records met with attorneys and the nonprofit Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

Starting July 12, Arizonans can apply for expungement.

"We’re able to say, 'Okay, here’s what we think it’s going to look like, let’s go through your rap sheet and see what qualifies, let’s go ahead so when July comes you’re already...know what to fill out,' " said Danielle Butler for Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

Butler says the event, called Clean Slate, is about preparing clients to get ready for July 12th.

"Once their record has been expunged, now we have new opportunities for jobs, new opportunities...for civic engagement," Butler said.

For Carlos, who heard about the event on FOX 10, he believes an expungement will make a big change in his life.

"I filled out my paper work got it all set up," Diaz said. "I can’t wait, because I want this thing off my record."

Continued Coverage

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