Ohio Group Taking Steps in Effort to Expunge Old Pot Crimes

Posted On: October 9th, 2015 by Bradley J. Groene

With Issue 3, which would legalize recreational and medical marijuana use and sales in Ohio, on the ballot this year, pot crimes have been the topic of many conversations in the state. Too many people have lost their driver’s licenses, access to public housing, financial aid for college, and even jobs due to past, relatively minor marijuana convictions. If the ballot measure to legalize marijuana passes, these pot crimes will no longer be illegal.

While this is a good thing for Ohioans in the future, it is of little comfort to those that have already had their lives damaged due to these arrests. ResponsibleOhio, the group pushing for the legalization measure on the ballot, is hoping to pass another law to help these people.

The advocacy group is pushing for legislators to pass the Fresh Start Act. This proposal calls for reviewing sentences and expunging criminal records for people with previous marijuana convictions if their actions would no longer be considered illegal. At last count, the petition had nearly 238,000 signatures.

Will the Fresh Start Act Help Me?

While the Fresh Start Act is potentially good news for people previously arrested for pot crimes, Ohioans shouldn’t celebrate yet. The proposal is not yet even a formal bill before the Ohio Legislature; not to mention, it is nowhere near passing. In addition, the Fresh Start Act will be a moot point entirely unless Issue 3 is passed on the ballot in November.

Still, this effort offers hope to those struggling to recover from an arrest for what Ohioans now generally consider to be a very minor transgression. In addition, it looks as though the legalization measure has a good chance of passing. An October poll indicates that 53 percent of Ohio voters support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, while just 44 percent oppose such a measure. At the very least, it looks as though a measure on medical marijuana could easily pass with almost universal approval, as 90 percent favor its legalization.

In the meantime, however, people arrested for pot crimes should continue to fight the charges. Clemency for marijuana crimes is unlikely to come anytime soon, and you could face serious consequences in the interim. If you are arrested for a pot crime in the Cincinnati area, call experienced Ohio drug defense lawyer Brad Groene for a free case evaluation today at (513) 338-1890. Find out how we may be able to help you keep your record clean.