By Franca Quarneti via El Planteo

Marijuana legalization is gaining momentum in the United States, which is increasingly evidenced by decriminalization, reduced sentences and drops in cannabis-related arrests.

For example, in New Jersey, the courts have dismissed or annulled 362,000 cases related to marijuana. In addition, in the Richmond, Virginia area, cannabis-related arrests dropped by 90%.

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Courts dismiss cannabis cases in New Jersey

According to data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary, the state’s courts annulled or dismissed some 362,000 marijuana-related cases since July 1.

150,000 residents are now eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged by the courts. And, in case those records were not automatically cleared, people can still file an appeal for review with the court.

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As reported by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), these new measures come after the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order to dismiss and expunge marijuana-related offenses.

New Jersey is not the only state where this is taking place: In Illinois, authorities expunged 500,000 records, while in California, 200,000 others were expunged.

90% fewer marijuana arrests in Richmond, Va.

According to Ganjapreneur, cannabis-related arrests dropped by more than 90% in the city of Richmond, Virginia since the state’s cannabis law went into effect on July 1 and there were only 25 arrests. In contrast, during the same period last year there were 257 arrests.

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Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jean Michelle Pedini, director of NORML and executive director of the state chapter, explained, “The reduction in arrests indicates that public policy is working as intended and in a way that is consistent with post-legalization observations from other states.”

This post was originally published on The Fresh Toast