Conn. (WTNH) — A new law was supposed to erase criminal records for marijuana possession as of Jan. 1, 2023. Now, the state says it will take a lot longer than that, and advocates are not happy with the delay.

With recreational cannabis becoming legal, the state passed a law to erase thousands of low-level marijuana possession convictions.

“Because we believe in redemption, not permanent punishment, and when it comes to racial justice, we realize the disproportionate impact of criminal records on black and brown communities,” said Rodney Moore, part of the criminal justice reform team of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, or CONECT.

CONECT fought for what is called the Clean Slate Law. It goes into effect on January 1, but now they are being told erasing all those records might take several more months.

“That might be June or maybe even further, leaving us totally behind in what we wanted and what we fought for,” Moore said.

Clean Slate is also designed to wipe out certain crimes unrelated to cannabis. Some 300,000 people would benefit. Mark Douglas is one of them. He lost his job when his employer discovered he had two misdemeanor convictions.

“They also informed me that if anything like this should happen, like a bill like this passing, something of that nature, getting the charges erased from my record, etc., that I would be able to re-obtain my position there,” Douglas said.

Not only can people be denied jobs, but also housing. The delay in erasing records is due to old state computer systems and the need to clarify precisely what crimes are eligible for erasure.

CONECT wants the Governor to work faster and be more transparent.

One possible fix is to tweak the existing legislation once lawmakers are back in session in January. It’s not unusual to have to do that, but it could take weeks or even months, further delaying the process.