VT: Cannabis Expungements Planned In Chittenden, Windsor Counties

Photo Credit: Sasha Goldstein

Here’s your chance to make that conviction go up in smoke.

Chittenden and Windsor counties will both hold expungement clinics next month to help wipe clean the records of people who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The events — June 9 in South Royalton and June 12 in Burlington — come weeks before possessing and growing small amounts of marijuana becomes legal in Vermont. Volunteers with the Center for Justice Reform at the Vermont Law School will help attendees fill out an expungement petition, which both Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George and Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill have vowed to support.

“This does not apply to felony-level offenses, convictions for sale of marijuana, or any offenses that took place outside of Windsor or Chittenden County,” Vermont Law School spokesperson Ben Jervey said in a press release.

In Vermont, an expungement means that “a person may lawfully claim that he or she was never arrested, convicted or sentenced for the marijuana possession offense,” Jervey wrote. He cautioned that “other states and the federal government may treat the effect of the expungement differently.”

A bill in the Vermont legislature this year would have “fast-tracked” such expungements, but it died in committee.

Robert Sand, director of the Vermont Law School’s Center for Justice Reform, mentioned in February the possibility of a running an expungement clinic on the county level with George and Cahill. The plan has the endorsement of Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan.

“Criminal records keep people marginalized,” Donovan told Seven Days last week. “We need to give people the opportunity to be productive citizens.”

From the news release:

Expungement Day for Windsor County convictions will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 9, in Oakes Hall, Room 012 at VLS. Expungement Day for Chittenden County convictions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, in Courtroom 2C of the Costello Courthouse at 32 Cherry Street in Burlington.

Participants in Expungement Day should plan to bring valid, government-issued photo identification as well as any records they have related to their prior misdemeanor marijuana offense, to include the original docket number. For more information about Expungement Day, email justicereform@vermontlaw.edu.