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Cannabis Law: Legalization & Decriminalization

This guide serves as a starting point for legal research regarding cannabis law in the United States, with particular attention to Massachusetts.

Expungement vs. Sealing of Records

Expunged: A criminal record is permanently destroyed. Available under particular circumstances including decriminalization. 

Sealed: criminal record is sealed and not publicly available, unless opened via court order. 

The Office of the Commissioner of Probation handles requests for both the sealing and expunging of records in the state of Massachusetts.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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For more information on drug law reform. 

Equity Programs - Massachusetts

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) administers the Social Equity Program (SEP). This state-wide program seeks to support communities most impacted by the War on Drugs by providing the training to successfully enter the cannabis industry in Massachusetts. The program includes four tracks to allow successful applicants targeted coursework. The CCC describes the program requirements, application process, and benefits at their "Equity Programs" page. The CCC also provides a Certified Economic Empowerment Priority application designation for potential licensees. This status allows for an expedited review by the Commission, so that the communities most impacted by cannabis criminalization will be included and successful in the industry.

For information regarding the outcome of these initiatives, see the Commission's Second Annual Report (2019).

Graphic displaying equity through people riding bikes that fit their body type, rather than all having the same bike.

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