ROCHESTER, N.Y. — State Senator Jeremy Cooney partnered with local legal service providers such as Just Cause, LawNY, Legal Aid Society and Monroe County Public Defenders for a Marijuana Record Expungement Clinic at Parcel 5 on Saturday.
He says when New York legalized marijuana back in March it also sought to remove some previous marijuana convictions.
"A lot of times, people who have been convicted in the past of a marijuana drug offense, now have to report that for the rest of their life on a job application, a rental application for housing, a student aid or student loan document. This allows people to move on with their lives," said Cooney.
Monroe County Public Defender Jacquelyn Grippe explains that previous marijuana convictions at the state level are only expunged on a case by case basis.
She advises that anyone with a marijuana-related conviction get a copy of their rap sheet and connect with a lawyer to see if they are eligible.
"If there is new relief under this legislation or other legislation that can seal your criminal record, that can expunge your criminal record and help you with employment, housing or any barriers that we see people encounter as a result of their contact with the criminal justice system, we want people to be able to access that," Grippe said.
Sen. Cooney added the clinic was not only about expungement but also how communities like Rochester can be reinvested in because of the legalization of marijuana.
"That money is going to go back into communities that have disproportionately impacted so when you talk about public education, you talk about workforce training, when you talk neighborhood safety and beautification. That money is going to come back to cities like Rochester so we should be a leader in the marijuana justice movement," said Cooney.