Can You Expunge a Marijuana Crime in Rhode Island?


A recent law that decriminalized marijuana in Rhode Island also offers automatic expungement for marijuana possession-related offenses. Someone who was cited, arrested, charged, or convicted of a possession-related crime for cannabis may be entitled to expungement.

In May 2022, Rhode Island became the 19th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This means that adults age 21 and older can legally possess and grow marijuana without fear of arrest, fines, or imprisonment. Retail establishments can begin selling cannabis products on Dec. 1 this year.

Expungement is a major component of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, providing important relief to those who incurred criminal records in the past due to marijuana possession allegations and convictions.

Eligibility Requirements for Marijuana Possession Expungement

Not all who incurred criminal records due to marijuana possession are eligible for expungement at this time.

Currently, expungement is offered in cases where someone was alleged or convicted of having two ounces or less of marijuana. If the amount of marijuana in someone’s case wasn’t specified, the courts presume it to be less than two ounces and eligible for expungement.

Importantly, expungement is offered to those regardless of prior arrests and convictions, any current criminal proceedings, and any outstanding costs, fines, or fees due to the court.

There is also no waiting period for expungement, but it’s estimated that the state judiciary could take until July 1, 2024, to clear records from the court system.

Do You Need Help with Cannabis Expungement?

Although it’s expected to take the government a few years to fully expunge marijuana possession records, there’s a possibility that some cases may be overlooked. If you are concerned about ensuring that your past arrest and/or conviction for marijuana possession is expunged according to the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, seek legal assistance.

Learn more about how the Law Office of Steven J. Hart can help by contacting us online.

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