New Jersey courts have either dismissed or vacated an estimated 362,000 marijuana cases since July 1, according to data provided by the state Judiciary and reported by NJ.com.
The actions come just months after the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order providing for the automatic dismissal and expungement of certain marijuana offenses from people’s records. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation into law in 2019 facilitating a process for the review and vacation of the criminal records of those previously convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. Governor Murphy signed separate into law this year legislation legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and sales.
As many as an additional 150,000 New Jersey residents could also be eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged by the courts, said MaryAnn Spoto, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary. People with marijuana cases that are not automatically expunged can file a motion for review with the court.
New Jersey is one of several states in recent months to automatically review and vacate marijuana-specific criminal records. In Illinois, officials have moved to expunge an estimated 500,000 marijuana-related records, and in California officials have cleared nearly 200,000 records.
California, Illinois, and New Jersey are among more than a dozen states that have enacted legislation explicitly permitting or facilitating the process of having past marijuana convictions expunged, vacated, otherwise set aside, or sealed from public view.