Thomas Wescott, 24, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, said he has been rejected by multiple employers due to a six-year-old conviction for marijuana possession. Today, he works at Sol Cannabis, the first cannabis consumption lounge in the state, which recently legalized recreational marijuana. Wescott and others like him are poised to benefit from a law that went into effect last year mandating automatic expungement of nonviolent cannabis-related offenses.
Proposed reforms to New Mexico’s juvenile sentencing rules failed to become law for a second year in a row after the bill’s sponsors pulled it, saying the legislation had been amended “beyond recognition.”
Michael Brown is one of dozens of people in New Mexico who received what juvenile justice reformists call “de-facto life sentences” — sentences so long they will likely never be released — for crimes committed as minors. He is a vocal supporter of youth sentencing reforms, part of a national movement to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and make them eligible for parole earlier.