(WBNG) -- When someone is convicted of a crime, they face far more penalties than just prison, which is why legal experts say they are so excited about New York's cannabis legalization efforts.
Under the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act, anyone previously convicted of a marijuana-related offense that is no longer illegal will have that conviction expunged from their record.
This means most people convicted of possession will no longer have the conviction on their criminal record; if you were convicted of a marijuana-related crime that is still illegal, such as the sale of the drug, that conviction will still remain in place.
Peter Pullano is a managing partner for Tully Rinckey, and he told 12 News Thursday he's excited for the potential of these efforts.
Pullano said wiping these convictions will offer many people a fresh start.
"A criminal conviction can mark a person in many many ways: jobs that do background checks, student loan applications, student aid applications," the lawyer said.
Other daily aspects which are affected by criminal convictions include voting rights, access to affordable housing, and participation in other government programs.
Under the new law passed Wednesday, New Yorkers will be able to possess up to three ounces of cannabis anywhere, and once growing at home is allowed, residents will be able to possess up to five pounds in their home.