District attorney offices across New Mexico are reviewing past cannabis-related charges after lawmakers passed legislation last year to automatically expunge some of these convictions from residents’ criminal records.
The expungement process launched last year, when the New Mexico Department of Public Safety created a list of 151,640 total cases that could potentially qualify for expungement, according to a KRQE report.
The department submitted lists to each district attorney in the state, who can then review and object to the expungement, the news outlet reported. Any objections must be made during a court hearing, and the court will make the final decision on the expungements in question.
Many of the charges for crimes related to cannabis that are no longer illegal in New Mexico are likely to be expunged, KRQE reported, but district attorneys are expected to challenge some of the expungements, including cases where individuals were charged with the possession of large amounts of cannabis.
“We are objecting to automatically expunging 53 convictions where individuals either transported more than 100 pounds of cannabis or distributed cannabis to a minor,” Lauren Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, told KRQE. “This amounts to an objection rate of 0.45%.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the state’s adult-use cannabis law in April 2021, and dispensaries in the state launched adult-use sales April 1, 2022. New Mexico’s total cannabis sales surpassed $40 million in July.