SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. (WCAX) Residents in Windsor County were able to receive legal help Saturday to clear their records of misdemeanor marijuana charges.
I was trying to be independent and I got myself in trouble," said Joseph Day.
But, he hopes he gets a second chance.
"I think were all equal in a sense. I think we all have things that are against us and some of them tend to be more highlighted in the public eye," day said.
Day was injured a few years ago and rather than relying on pain relievers, he decided to grow marijuana. Police eventually caught on and Day was arrested. That charge and other possession charges from when he was a teenager have stayed on his criminal record for years.
"It could be the smallest employer, it could be an independent employer, or it could be a major company, they all look at it," Day said
But, some of those charges could be going away. Saturday, Windsor County State's Attorney David Cahill organized Marijuana Expungement Day for residents. The event was held at the Vermont Law School and most in the crowd were law students. But, about 10 people were there for the opportunity to get their misdemeanor marijuana charges taken off their criminal records.
"You will be entitled to say that you were never convicted of the offense, that it never happened, and when you apply for a job, a student loan, housing, you can check the no box on if you've been convicted of this crime," Cahill said.
He said around 2,800 Vermonters in the last 10 years been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses. After July first, recreational marijuana in Vermont will be legal in small amounts.
"I believe in the law, I was raised to believe in the law. I believe in following the law," said Jaqueline Dawinks.
She is a student at the Vermont Law School and has a passion for being an advocate for social justice.
"I believe in a second chance," Dawkins said.
Ultimately, a judge will decide if an expungement is warranted based on the nature of the conviction. Day's petition for expungement will be submitted to the courts once pot become legal.
"I get to feel inside, the person I always have been, not the person that ive been labeled as, it's also great for my family as well," Day said.
If residents in Windsor County or any county in Vermont are thinking of getting their records expunged of any misdemeanor marijuana charges, Cahill suggests reaching out to Vermont Legal Aid or any attorney to help you fill out a petition to be submitted after July 1st.