Carmody and Connecticut Legal Services (CLS), the state’s largest legal aid agency, are pleased to announce a joint initiative to help people erase past marijuana-related offenses that qualify under the state’s 2021 cannabis legalization law. In coordination with CLS, Carmody will provide legal services to help low-income individuals erase certain cannabis-related convictions on a pro bono (no fee) basis.

Under the law, petitions to erase certain marijuana convictions may be made beginning July 1, 2022.  While the law will automatically erase many convictions that occurred between January 1, 2000 and October 1, 2015, individuals with convictions that occurred before or after this period must petition a court to erase these records.  Through referrals by CLS, Carmody attorneys will represent clients in need of such petitions as a joint initiative by the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, Cannabis Law Group, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team.

Cannabis-related offenses that are eligible for erasure under Connecticut’s 2021 law generally include possession of four (4) ounces or less; use or possession of drug paraphernalia for the use of cannabis; and offenses related to the manufacture, sale or distribution of a cannabis-type substance where the amount involved was four (4) ounces or less, or six (6) plants or less grown inside a person’s primary residence for personal use. Carmody and CLS will provide services exclusively to individuals who would have issues paying to erase prior convictions.

Commenting on the initiative, Carmody Managing Partner, Rick Street said: “Carmody has always had a strong commitment to the communities in which we live and work and a proud history of providing pro bono legal services for those who need it most. We are pleased to collaborate with CLS on this important initiative that will make a real difference to a lot of people who have such offenses on their record and who may not be able to afford legal help.”

Anne Louise Blanchard, CLS Deputy Director added: “We appreciate Carmody recognizing the importance of this issue to low-income individuals and families.  Assisting eligible people will increase their success obtaining basic needs such as employment and housing.  We are excited to partner with Carmody on behalf of our client communities.”