A New Zealander who posted two cannabis cigarettes from California to Nelson nearly four decades ago has had her drug-trafficking conviction quashed so she can visit her children in the United States.
Lyndsey Kay Miller posted the joints, each containing approximately 5 grams of cannabis, from her home in California in October 1979.
When she arrived in New Zealand a month later, to visit her parents, she was convicted of importing a controlled drug and fined $200.
Ms Miller said that at the time she was not aware of her right to apply for discharge without conviction.
Around 2004 her conviction was covered by the Clean Slate scheme and she assumed she didn't need to declare it when she applied for visitor visas to visit her adult children in the US from 2005 to 2015.
However, during an interview in 2015 with the US Consulate in Auckland, she disclosed that the conviction had been wiped by the scheme.
However, the US government doesn't recognise the scheme and her visitor's visa was refused.
US officials said she would be ineligible to enter their country until the 1979 conviction was quashed by a New Zealand court on the basis there was an underlying flaw in the legal process.
Ms Miller's appeal was based on the grounds of a miscarriage of justice, saying she didn't get the correct advice about her right to apply for discharge without conviction, and was told a guilty plea would have "no impact on her life other than the fine".
Backed by newspaper articles from the time, Justice Peter Churchman allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction in the High Court at Wellington last month.
"Importing cannabis is a serious offence, however given the circumstances in the case, including the small amount... the guilty plea and the lack of prior or subsequent offending... that a discharge without conviction is required."