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Law meant to clear old convictions, including for marijuana possession, helps few

Pauline Quirion, the lead attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), was quoted in a Nov. 28 Boston Globe article about a case the organization is bringing to the Supreme Judicial Court to appeal the expungement of old cannabis charges.

When state legislators passed a criminal justice reform bill in 2018, Massachusetts residents won the ability to clear away certain criminal records — including convictions for marijuana possession and other now-legal activities — that can make it difficult to land a job, rent an apartment, and otherwise move on with life.

But three years later, only a fraction of those who are likely eligible for relief have had their records expunged.

“The onus ends up being on the individual to know about [the expungement] program and take action,” Quirion said. “The tragedy for a lot of folks is that we usually see them after the fact, when they’ve lost their dream job or something.”

Read more in The Boston Globe.