BOZEMAN — In this past November election, initiative 190 decriminalized marijuana, but that doesn’t automatically mean it expunges criminal records relating to it.
“We think it’s kind of ridiculous that they come out with a law and then don’t really come out with an opportunity to do that in a cost-effective manner,” explained Herman Watson, an attorney with Watson Law Firm.
Which prompted Watson Law Firm to offer record expungement services relating to marijuana for $420.
“Now they’re saying yeah our bad we changed our mind about that, you can get it expunged but then you can hire an attorney to do that cause it’s not something you’d get a public defender for,” Watson said.
But it’s not about the money for this firm. They say it’s about being progressive in drug reform.
“Yeah that’s kind of a joke number, but the idea is that it just covers the cost of us filing the petitions and like having my staff work on it. Someone commented on that on Facebook saying this stuff should be free, and I agreed with that and so we came back and said if that number cost prohibited we’ll do it pro bono,” he explained.
Meaning at no cost… But Watson says you do have another option.
“For people who don’t want to go through the process of petitioning the court to erase their records I think we might hear back from the legislature on an amendment to I-190 or some additional law that would require district courts to handle these matters and expunge people’s convictions as a matter of course, we should probably hear back from them within a year, so by the end of the year,” he explained.
So far, about a dozen people have reached out to Watson Law for their help with this issue.