Come July, Marijuana-related criminal records can be expunged in Arizona

Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, goes into effect in just about a month, after it was approved by voters during the November 2020 election.

The new law, which, among other things, legalized recreational marijuana in Arizona, will impact those charged for most marijuana-related crimes.

Those eligible, whether they’ve been arrested, on probation or with a prior record, can try and get their records expunged.

"Those with charges, convictions, arrests on their record -- doesn't even have to be a conviction, could be something that was charged and then later dismissed due to a deferred prosecution, but the record is still there that they were charged, so that can all be dismissed," said Tom Dean, an attorney who with experience in marijuana cases.

According to the law, those who qualify will be able to submit a petition to get those records expunged, starting on July 12. Those charges eligible to be expunged include possession of marijuana up to two-and-a-half ounces, possession of concentrates up to 12-and-a-half grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia and cultivation of up to six marijuana plants.

Back in November 2020, when it was clear that Proposition 207 was going to pass, those with pending marijuana-related cases pending were able to have those dismissed.

Related: County attorneys dropping all pending charges for marijuana possession following Prop 207 passage

Dean says currently, there are still about 100 people held for possession of marijuana at state prisons in Arizona. They also may be eligible for release.

"This indicates that there is hope for those in prison so that could be some really good news for them in the coming month," said Dean.

The petitions will, however, take some time go through.

"There could be a dispute," said Dean. "Was it under two-and-a-half ounces? Was it over? So there will be those cases with some disputed."

Dean explains that some of these cases may be settled in a matter of 30 to 40 days. Other disputed cases may take months.

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