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Drug law changes can lead to reparative justice in some states

With the legalization of marijuana, some believe that it's time to address past crimes and to make criminal justice reforms. In California, for instance, Californians voted to allow people to petition to hide or reduce the convictions on their records for marijuana-related crimes as soon as marijuana was legalized. In the state, they refer to that change as reparative justice, allowing people to repair the harm caused by the United States' war on drugs.

In Colorado, it's also been made easier to hide past convictions for marijuana possession, manufacture or cultivation. You can petition to have your record sealed or expunged, so it's much harder for the public to find out about your past.

It's difficult to live with a conviction, and there isn't anything fair about having a hard time finding a job or getting the home you want because of past crimes that are now legal acts. Many believe that when a drug like marijuana becomes legal, reform is necessary to help those who have violated the laws in the past.

Others believe that there is no reason to reduce or remove convictions on the records of those who violated the laws in the past. They believe that the individuals knowingly violated the laws and shouldn't be given any leeway just because the laws have changed today.

Every state is different, but fortunately, Colorado does recognize that past crimes shouldn't necessarily affect you once they're no longer illegal acts. If you want to seal your past criminal record, it may be a possibility with the help of your attorney.

Source: Press Herald, "Some states make it easier to get past pot crimes expunged," Sophie Quinton, Nov. 27, 2017

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