‘An utter failure': Law meant to clear old convictions, including for marijuana possession, helps few

In 2018, Massachusetts legislators passed a law allowing people with certain lower-level criminal records to seal the records or expunge convictions altogether. The law was meant to remove the burden that a criminal record imposes on people seeking jobs or renting apartments, particularly when the conduct is no longer illegal, such as marijuana possession. Thousands have managed to get their records sealed. But relatively few have sought or won expungement, thanks to an overly restrictive and complicated process that hasn't been explained well to those who could benefit.

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