New Jersey's Democrat governor today signed legislation to clear the state criminal records of low-level marijuana offenders, and he approved restoring the voting rights of more than 80,000 convicts.
Phil Murphy's signature today amounts to another big step toward legalization, and a positive move to increase the number of 2020 voters — notable, because right now, other GOP-controlled U.S. states are passing laws to restrict how many people have the right to vote.
The marijuana law signed Wednesday allows low-level convicts to petition for expungement so long as they have stayed free of criminal offenses for at least 10 years. The records of future minor offenders will be sealed upon the case's disposition.
Another law signed Wednesday, to take effect in 90 days, will allow voting by more than 80,000 New Jerseyans who are on probation or parole. At least 16 states have similar laws, according to a news release from the governor's office.
"Our administration is deeply committed to transforming our criminal justice system, and today we are taking a historic step to give residents impacted by that system a second chance," Murphy, 62, said in a statement. He called the marijuana legislation "one of the most progressive expungement laws in the nation."
More at Bloomberg: N.J. Lets Some Pot Convictions Go in Step Toward Legalization