Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced plans Dec. 6 to clear the records of thousands of residents with low-level cannabis possession convictions.

The move represents a key component of Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis law, which Lamont signed in June 2021.

Records in roughly 44,000 cases will be fully or partially erased in January through an automatic erasure method, according to Lamont’s announcement.

“On Jan. 1, thousands of people in Connecticut will have low-level cannabis convictions automatically erased due to the cannabis legalization bill we enacted last year,” Lamont said in a public statement. “Especially as Connecticut employers seek to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings, an old conviction for low-level cannabis possession should not hold someone back from pursuing their career, housing, professional, and educational aspirations.”

How individuals are granted erasure of their records depends on when they received their conviction. According to Lamont’s announcement convictions will be handled in the following ways:

-Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279(c) for possession of under four ounces of a non-narcotic, non-hallucinogenic substance imposed between January 1, 2000, and September 30, 2015, will be automatically erased on January 1, 2023. People included under this provision of the law need not do anything to make these convictions eligible for erasure.

-Convictions for the following violations can be erased if one files a petition in Superior Court:

Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279 for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance imposed before January 1, 2000, and between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2021.Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-267(a) for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia for cannabis imposed before July 1, 2021.Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-277(b) imposed before July 1, 2021, for manufacturing, selling, possessing with intent to sell, or giving or administering to another person a cannabis-type substance and the amount involved was under four ounces or six plants grown inside a person’s home for personal use.

Criminal justice agencies operating under Connecticut’s judicial and executive branches of government are working to implement the necessary information technology upgrades to automatically erase the eligible records, according to Lamont’s announcement, and the state’s Clean Slate automated erasure system is expected to be fully implemented during the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s commercial adult-use cannabis market, which was initially expected to launch by the end of this year, is now slated to launch in early 2023.