By Edward Celaya | Arizona Daily Star
Some missed out on job opportunities. Others found it difficult to apply for loans. And while some suffered almost no effects for having a marijuana conviction or arrest on their records, one woman talked about being unable to become a homeowner.
Those were some of the stories of people attending a first-of-its-kind expungement clinic on Saturday, July 3 at Harambe Café on Tucson’s east side, as lawyers, law students and advocates from all over Southern Arizona offered their services to help guide those looking to clear their cases.
“Everyone in general is struggling,” said Michelle Ochoa, who volunteered at the event — and prepared her petition for expungement. “With housing opportunities, employment opportunities, just to get ahead, all because of a minor conviction. Like mine.”
According to Jon Udell, a cannabis law attorney and Arizona chapter board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, marijuana charges and convictions can be extremely harmful to a person’s personal and professional lives.
“There’s all different kinds of negative effects that this can have on people, and for something that’s totally harmless,” Udell said. That’s why he’s so excited about Arizona’s new avenue for expunging such cases, convictions and arrests.