Court approves clearing records for some who sold marijuana in Ariz.

Ray Stern

Arizona Republic 

People convicted of selling small amounts of marijuana in Arizona now qualify to have their records expunged following a ruling by the state Appeals Court.

The court’s decision comes with a caveat: The amount of marijuana a person was convicted of selling, or trying to sell, can’t be more than what people can legally possess to qualify for expungement. That amount is 2.5 ounces of marijuana, 12.5 grams of concentrated marijuana and up to six live plants.

Expungement is part of the law that voters approved in 2020 that legalized the possession by adults 21 and older of an ounce or less of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrate and up to six live plants.

Advocates aren’t clear yet how many new people may qualify; some estimated after the law passed that as many as 200,000 to 500,000 people could have convictions erased from their records.

The new court-ordered change in policy began when Ethan Sorensen, 27, applied for expungement of his 2014 conviction for solicitation to commit possession of marijuana for sale, a low-level felony for which he’d received probation. When the Superior Court declined the application, noting that the law only allowed for erasure of possession cases, Sorensen pushed back with the help of the state-funded Arizona Marijuana Expungement Coalition and its Reclaim Your Future project.


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June 2023