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What you need to know if you have a marijuana-related conviction

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CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) — Now that recreational use of cannabis is legal in New York, what happens to the records of individuals convicted of marijuana related charges?

With the passing of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March, marijuana-related convictions that are no longer criminalize in New York will be automatically expunged.

However, the caveat is that legislation allows the New York State Office of Court Administration up two years to expunge the records.

This is New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, who represents New York’s 56th Senate District is hosting an expungement clinic on Saturday in Rochester to give folks an opportunity to speak with legal experts for free about their case and how they can expedite the process.

“They can give applicants the best advice on how to position themselves, how to be honest with employers, and a realistic time table in removing the offense off their record,” said Cooney.

And not all marijuana-related offenses will be automatically wiped. For higher level offenses, an application must be submitted.

“To clarify, the automatic expungement, it’s up to possessing up to 16 ounces of marijuana and selling up to 25 grams of marijuana,” said Derrick Hogan, attorney with Tulley Rinckey, PLLC.

Hogan says that the application must be filed with the court where the conviction occurred.

Under the law, the courts will not notify individuals that a case has been expunged.

Hogan says that individuals can check by contacting the court in which their case was decided.

“If that individual has any concern, they can certainly reach out to the court and request what’s known as a certificate of disposition,” said Hogan.

CBS6’s Briana Supardi asks Cooney what will be taken into consideration when reviewing an application.

“I think more generally speaking a lot of what the state is going to evaluate is the harm done to the individual versus society,” said Cooney. “That’s where the state is going to weigh the social wrongs.”

“The idea is to make sure those who cause harm to others are still held accountable but those who caught up on the war on drugs whether it’s a possession charge or intent charge may be treated differently,” added Cooney.

Cooney’s expungement clinic will take place from 10 AM to 12 PM on Saturday, Sept. 18th, at Parcel 5, 285 East Main St. in Rochester.

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