On January 1st of this year, marijuana became legal in the state of Nevada. Any adult in the state is now legally allowed to possess up to an ounce of weed. But during the nearly eighty years that marijuana has been illegal, untold thousands have been sent to prison for possessing small amounts of the newly-legal drug.
Nevada Assemblyman William McCurdy II is working to make amends with his proposal of Assembly Bill 259, which would vacate the conviction of any Nevada resident busted with an ounce or less of marijuana before January 2017. The bill would also make it possible for those convicted on drug charges that show “good cause” to become eligible for early release. Additionally, AB259 would replace mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession with options for substance abuse treatment.
John Jones of the Nevada District Attorneys Association argued that the bill would better serve low-level marijuana offenders by sealing their cases, not vacating them, however. “I would hate for a defendant to think they file a motion to vacate a judgment, that judgment gets dismissed and for them to think the process is finished because it isn’t,” he said. “With a sealing, any record of the arrest goes away as well as any record of the court proceeding.”
The bill has been referred to the Nevada Committee on Corrections, Parole and Probation for approval.