Anyone who has been charged and convicted of marijuana possession in Arkansas would love to get the charge removed from their record. Currently, only the use of medical cannabis is legal in the state, but as the movement to legalize recreational use grows, former defendants wonder if they will ever be able to wipe their records clean.
Drug convictions complicate your life
Over the last decade, 16 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. Arkansas isn’t one of them. However, as a matter of federal criminal law, recreational marijuana is still illegal. Arkansas legalized medical marijuana use in 2016.
Before that date, those using marijuana for medical purposes usually had to obtain it illegally. If the police caught you, you could face a range of charges depending on how much marijuana was on your person, even though you only wanted it for personal use to cope with your medical situation. After your conviction, your employer may have passed you up for promotion, and you may have trouble finding a new place to live. Your access to a wide range of opportunities has become limited. If this sounds like your situation, you live in a potentially gray area. Yet, expungement can be an expensive process, even if you enlist the help of organizations attempting to help those convicted.
Expungement in Arkansas is possible
The expungement process in Arkansas is challenging, but under some circumstances, you may be able to petition to get a marijuana drug conviction removed from your record. The state has a specific petition process to expunge convictions or work to get the charges reduced. Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance in the state, so these efforts may not be immediately successful.
Nevertheless, various public advocacy groups continue to work with legislatures in states where marijuana is still illegal to level the playing field for those with convictions for minor offenses. Keeping good records and demonstrating that your marijuana use was medically necessary at the time of the arrest may eventually be fruitful as legalization becomes more common.