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New laws will clear N.J. criminal records for weed and allow people on parole to vote

Amanda Hoover | December 18, 2019 | NJ Advance Media |

Some 80,000 people in New Jersey will have their voting rights restored and more will see their criminal records expunged, thanks to two bills Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Wednesday.

“Today is not just about writing a new chapter of New Jersey history,” Murphy told a crowd in the One Stop Career Center in Newark. “It’s about making up for the failures of history.”

More than 100 people packed the center Wednesday morning, two days after the state Legislature passed the bills during a busy session in Trenton. People cheered and at times wiped tears from their eyes, moved to see the long-awaited expungement bill become law.

The expungement bill passed the state Assembly 48-21 and the state Senate 22-15 Monday.

Police have arrested nearly 1 million people in New Jersey on marijuana charges since 1990, according to the state judiciary. That gives the Garden State one of the highest marijuana arrest rates in the nation. If those convicted sought to clear their records, they have faced one of the most burdensome expungement systems in the country, as reported earlier this year by NJ Advance Media.


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