The NSW Greens has announced it will commit to expunging criminal convictions for cannabis possessions as part its support of legalising the drug.
There have been over 25,000 recorded criminal incidents involving cannabis possession in NSW in the last two years, and Greens MLC David Shoebridge says these convictions create an unjust stigma.
“Tens of thousands of people in NSW alone are living with the legacy of a criminal conviction for possessing a substance that is legal in many different countries around the world,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
The NSW Greens’ ambitious plan would see all cannabis use and possession decriminalised, before expunging all past criminal records and convictions related to cannabis possession. Anyone in prison for cannabis possession would also be released immediately.
By amending the Criminal Records Act 1991 – which allows people in NSW to apply to have certain historical convictions expunged based on injustice of past laws – the Greens hope to open the door for people to apply to have cannabis possession convictions erased. Those with convictions will be able to apply via the NSW Justice Department.
The Greens’ plan would inject $1 million in funding over three years to NSW Community Centres to aid those seeking to have their conviction erased.
Over 40,000 people in NSW have been convicted of a cannabis possession offence in the last 10 years. These convictions can have lasting affects on a person’s ability to find housing or employment, and a criminal record can make travel, loans, and insurance a nightmare.
“Erasing these convictions will remove this unjust stigma,” said Shoebridge.
Earlier this week the NSW Greens also proposed a De-Incarceration Commission, chaired by a First Nations judge, to release First Nations people held in jail for non violent offences.