New Hampshire Committee Passes Legislation to Allow Annulment of Marijuana Convictions
Legislation that would allow for the annulment (invalidation of) of charges related to possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana has been passed 14 to 4 by its initial committee.
House Bill 1744, filed by Representative Robert Cushing along with 12 bipartisan cosponsors, was given approval today by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The proposal states that; “Any person who was arrested or convicted for knowingly or purposely obtaining, purchasing, transporting, or possessing, actually or constructively, or having under his or her control, 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana or less where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017 may, at any time, petition the court in which the person was convicted or arrested to annul the arrest record, court record, or both.” This is made possible by a law that took effect on September 16, 2017; which decriminalized the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana.
Going into specifics, the measure’s official text clarifies the process for annulling a marijuana conviction:
The petition shall state that the amount of marijuana was 3/4 of an ounce or less. The petitioner shall furnish a copy of the petition to the prosecutor of the underlying offense. The prosecutor may object within 15 days of receiving a copy of the petition and request a hearing. If the prosecutor does not object within 15 days, the court shall grant the petition for annulment. If the prosecutor timely objects, the court shall hold a hearing. In a hearing on the petition for annulment, the prosecutor shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner knowingly or purposely obtained, purchased, transported, or possessed, actually or constructively, or had under his or her control, marijuana in an amount exceeding of 3/4 of an ounce. At the close of the hearing, the court may grant or deny the petition. If the petition is granted, and an order of annulment is entered, the provisions of RSA 651:5, X-XI shall apply to the petitioner. If the petition is denied, the petitioner may file another petition no sooner than one year after the date of the denial. The petitioner may refile once annually thereafter.
House Bill 1744 was been passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate before it can be sent to Governor Chris Sununu for final consideration.