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Expunging Marijuana-Related Convictions: A Guide to Eligibility and Resources



Under recent reforms to New Jersey law, people with past convictions for most marijuana-related offenses are eligible for expedited expungement. This article provides helpful information to determine if you are eligible for relief and where to get assistance.

If you have any of the marijuana-related convictions listed below, there is no waiting period for expungement. You are eligible for immediate relief after the payment of any fine, the completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, legal custody, or supervision, if applicable, whichever comes latest:

  • Distribution or possession of, or having under one’s control with intent to distribute, less than one ounce of marijuana, or less than five grams of hashish in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(12), or such violation and a school zone or public housing violation under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7a or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1a (i.e., distributing, or possessing, or having under one’s control with intent to distribute, on or within 1,000 feet of any school property, or within 500 feet of a public housing facility, public park or public building); or
  • Obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to make lawful disposition of marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10b or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10c; or
  • A violation involving marijuana or hashish as above, and using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2.

If you have a conviction for distribution of one ounce or more but less than five pounds of marijuana, or over five grams but less than one pound of hashish in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(11), the conviction will be expungeable after a three-year waiting period.

The court is currently developing an electronic system to automatically expunge these marijuana-related arrests and convictions, however, if you have other charges that are not subject to expedited expungement, those records would remain. In the meantime, you can expunge your marijuana-related and other eligible convictions through the New Jersey Courts electronic filing system (or “Expungement System”), available on their website.

The New Jersey Courts Electronic Filing System

The New Jersey Courts electronic filing system for expungements was designed to improve access and efficiency in the expungement process.

It allows attorneys and those representing themselves to create and file petitions for traditional, clean slate, and marijuana-related expungements. It also provides helpful new features, including easier access to state records databases, document creation for expungement petitions, and automatic service of applications on numerous parties.

Anyone can create an account through the New Jersey Court’s Self-Help Center (“Submit Expungement Petition Online” under “COVID-19 Self-Help Resources”).

To get started, you will need to enter a municipal or superior court case number. The system will then search for your court records from criminal, municipal, and family court databases. The system is not guaranteed to return all of your expungeable cases, and therefore it is suggested that you obtain your records prior to starting the process. (See the “Locate Your Records” section of LSNJ’s Clearing Your Record Manual.

As you complete your expungement petition, you will be able to:

  • Enter additional information not captured by the expungement system database;
  • Review and upload additional or supportive documents; and
  • Select or deselect which cases should be included on the proposed final order.

If necessary, the system will automatically create an order for hearing and serve the necessary parties with the documentation. It will also serve those parties if a final order of expungement is entered, and will provide a copy of the order to the petitioner.

Although general information is provided on the website, it will not inform you as to whether you are eligible for expungement. Therefore, it is suggested that you consult with attorneys or advocates prior to using the system, or use other eligibility resources such as LSNJ’s Clearing Your Record Online eligibility interview.

After you file your expungement petition, the prosecutor’s office will review your petition. The office may object if it determines that you are not eligible for expungement. You will have the opportunity to respond to any objections raised by the prosecutor’s office.

Whether or not you are eligible to expunge your marijuana-related convictions or other arrests and convictions through New Jersey’s new electronic filing system, these recent changes should help make the expungement process easier for you to clear your records and get a fresh start.

Guide to NJ’s Electronic Filing System for Expungements

If you are filing an expungement through New Jersey’s new electronic filing system, Legal Services of New Jersey’s new guide can help. Check our website for Electronic Filing for Expungement: Pro Se Guide.

Before filing your petition through the new electronic filing expungement system, find out if you are eligible by using the guide’s resources. It will help you find case numbers and show you where to file. It will also guide you to public databases to help you find out if you have additional arrests or convictions not found by the electronic expungement system search tool, which you will need to include in your petition. ​