Gov. Phil Murphy has vetoed a bill that would clear the records of thousands of people convicted of marijuana offenses, but he's offered an alternative plan.
Murphy conditionally vetoed Senate Bill No. 3205 this week, rejecting a plan to institute several major reforms to the state's expungement law and allow individuals convicted of certain marijuana offenses to petition a court to remove them from their criminal records.
Instead, the governor has made recommendations that require the creation of a system for automatic expungements for those with clean records for at least 10 years, and allow for judicial sealing of low-level marijuana offenses. The latter recommendation would ensure that individuals cannot have those convictions used against them in the future, he said.
"I applaud the sponsors' commitment to social justice, and their efforts to correct historic wrongs inflicted on our communities by a criminal justice system that has at times unfairly, and harshly punished individuals," said Murphy. "Providing relief for those who have served their time, and lifting the constraints placed on them from finding meaningful work, and providing for their families following a conviction and time served is a priority that I share with legislative leaders and advocates."
The veto comes as top lawmakers, including Murphy, say they're reviving legislative efforts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, and they're ready to do it by the end of the year.