The cost to expunge a weed record and the time it takes varies from state to state and case to case. It can be free or cost over $1,000. It can happen instantly or take years. Expungeable New York weed convictions that happened after Aug. 28, 2019, are automatic and free, but cannot begin until the person pays all fines associated with the charge (which doesn’t exactly make it free).

If you apply to have your record sealed in New York City, a mandatory certificate of disposition will cost you $10 for each charge you want sealed. Plus you have to pay to have each form notarized. The filing is free, but if you use a lawyer the price can quickly add up. As for timing, you’ll have to wait 10 years after your last conviction, before you can have any charge sealed.

Restorative justice seems to move slowly for New Yorkers. A month after legalizing cannabis, 19 people were still serving state prison sentences for weed-related offenses that are likely to be dropped under the current law. Gov. Cuomo gave the state two years to expunge all weed-possession convictions that are now legal.

In Oregon, the expungement process takes about three months. Applicants have to pay the state a $281 filing fee, and they must pay the police $80 to do a background check. On top of that, they have to pay $25 to get their fingerprints taken and $10 for each form that needs to be notarized. Altogether, the cost climbs to about $400 without a lawyer, not including the fines and fees associated with the charge. Jeannette says those fines and fees keep many now-innocent people from even attempting to clear their name. 

“The unforeseen consequence of not forgiving fines and fees means a lot of Black and brown folks don’t get expunged,” Jeannette says. She’s made sure to include the forgiveness of fines and fees in the Oregon Equity Act.