COLUMBUS – Today, ResponsibleOhio announced that the organization filed the “Fresh Start Act” with the Ohio Attorney General. The Fresh Start Act is an initiated statue proposing the review and expungement of criminal records for people with past marijuana convictions if the crime is no longer illegal after the passage of the ResponsibleOhio amendment.
“Marijuana legalization is just the first step to taking a hard look at what prohibition has done to our communities; it is certainly not the end of the journey,” said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James. “We believe that we should not keep people unfairly shackled to their past when marijuana is legalized.”
Even though statewide, Ohio has reclassified marijuana possession as a misdemeanor offense, dozens of local governments have passed tougher criminal rules. A recent American Bar Association study found that a single misdemeanor conviction for marijuana can have over 300 consequences, including the inability to find employment, obtain public housing and loss of eligibility for financial aid for college.
“These tough local laws have many devastating and far reaching consequences,” said James. “It is time to make amends with the thousands of Ohioans who have been punished for non-violent marijuana offenses. When passed, the Fresh Start Act will remove these obstacles to a fulfilling life and will give people a clean slate for their second chance at a future.”
The Attorney General has until July 6 to review the Fresh Start Act language for approval.