New York Attorney General Letitia James in a letter to legislative leaders urged them to back a provision in a marijuana legalization agreement that would expunge records for those who have been arrested, detained or convicted of marijuana-related possession.

The letter, sent Friday to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, comes as lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize marijuana for retail and commercial sale in New York.

“Before we create a booming business for legal marijuana, we must provide relief to those individuals that have paid much more to society than what was due,” James wrote in the letter. “We must stop the cascade of social and human harms imposed by the Rockefeller drug laws and give individuals who have been held back a chance to succeed.”

James defines records expungement as “the extraction and isolation or destruction of all records on file.”

“We must guarantee that the door is shut forever and that pas policy mistakes do not further haunt the victims of over-policing,” she wrote.

During her time as New York City public advocate, James was supportive of legalizing marijuana.

Stewart-Cousins earlier this year said she supported expungement of records; Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to legalize marijuana supported sealing records.

Lawmakers, due to end the legislative session on Wednesday, were close to striking a deal on the issue as of Friday afternoon and continued to negotiate changes to the proposal this weekend.

2019.06.14 AG Letitia James Marijuana Expungement Letter by Nick Reisman on Scribd