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Legalizing recreational marijuana raises questions about past arrests

Governor Andrew Cuomo says legalizing recreational marijuana will be a priority in the new year.

That is raising questions about what will happen to those who have past marijuana convictions.

Advocates say these convictions have kept people from getting housing, jobs or pursuing higher education.

However, to nullify past convictions, attorneys say separate legislation would have to be introduced.

“Even when the law changes, those convictions will stand,” explained attorney Peter Pullano. “A similar thing happened back with prohibition. Truly, there were people who had bootlegging convictions that outlasted prohibition. But the legislature is at least looking into what can we do – can we make some reparations for people whose lives have been ruined by a small amount of marijuana?”

Pullano says if some marijuana convictions become null and void, the case would most likely have to go back to the judge, and the person would need to hire an attorney.

13WHAM-TV – Rochester:
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