TRENTON — Nearly 88,000 convictions or pending cases involving marijuana or hashish have been vacated or dismissed by the New Jersey Judiciary so far in July, amounting to almost a quarter of the cases now eligible to be expunged under the state's new Marijuana Decriminalization Law.

A New Jersey Courts press release said that state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner issued an order effective July 1, when the law went into effect, directing certain eligible offenses to be thrown out, along with warrants for failure to appear.

Approximately 360,000 cases will eventually be automatically tossed by Superior and Municipal courts throughout the state.

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The offenses covered are fourth-degree and disorderly persons charges involving distribution and possession of certain amounts, possession of paraphernalia, using or being under the influence, and operating a motor vehicle while in possession.

Violations of probation or pretrial monitoring, and related suspension or revocation of driver's licenses, resulting from such cases will also be vacated, according to the release.

An electronic system is being created to provide certificates of expungement upon request.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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