PHOENIX - Recent decisions by two County Attorney's Office in Arizona to stop pursuing marijuana-related offenses after voters passed Proposition 207 matter the most to people who could be getting current charges dropped, or past charges expunged.
Erron Reid says he’s been trying to put food on the table for his family, but he’s had a marijuana charge hanging over his head.
"I was dating my girlfriend about five years ago. We were sharing the car with each other. She has [a Medical Marijuana] card, she left some in the car by accident. Driving back to El Paso, I got pulled over. They found it, and they charged me for it. So we’ve been fighting this for a really long time," said Reid.
Reid could be one of 6,000 cases that could be dismissed or partially dismissed in Maricopa County under Prop 207. It’s a weight off Reid’s shoulders.
"Oh man, it’s amazing. It’s a sense of relief. There’s that burden, that frustration that was lifted off my shoulders," said Reid.
People with similar circumstances have started reaching out to attorneys.
"We just have to make sure that all of our clients' charges can be dismissed for people who are being charged with possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, which could be a little baggy," said criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Taylor.
Cannabis attorney Tom Dean says he expects people with prior marijuana convictions to seek expungement as soon as they can in July.
"Many people are never arrested, many are simply cited and not actually arrested. How many are charged, we don’t know, but subject to arrest, that’s 15,000 to 18,000 a year that most, a vast majority, would not be subject to arrest under 207," said Dean.
Dean went on to say Arizona is about two years away from the recreational marijuana market adjusting to demand, meaning he thinks the state will still see marijuana drug dealing charges that can’t be dismissed in the short term, until businesses can get up and running.