Officials in Erie County, New York announced last week that a series of cannabis conviction expungement clinics will be held in Buffalo beginning later this month, giving those with past marijuana offenses an opportunity to clear their records. The Erie County District Attorney’s office and the Erie County Bar Association’s Assigned Legal Counsel Program will host two expungement clinics, one later this week and the second next month.
When New York state lawmakers passed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis last year, they included provisions that allow those with past convictions for some weed-related offenses to have their records cleared. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a statement on Thursday that expungement can help address the harms caused by the failed War on Drugs.
“Now that New York State has legalized recreational cannabis, we must act on behalf of the people whose lives have been unfairly impacted by a marijuana-related conviction on their criminal record,” said Flynn. “In particular, African Americans have been disproportionally impacted by the criminalization of cannabis, which has hindered their pursuit of certain opportunities in life. I hope to give a fresh start to our citizens who have been living with these criminal convictions by offering legal support to expedite the expungement or reduction process.”