Summary: In Missouri, over 100,000 marijuana-related cases have been expunged following the state’s voter-approved adult-use legalization law, which took effect on December 8, 2022. The law provided a one-year timeline for the expungement of marijuana-related convictions, significantly impacting individuals with past offenses.
Missouri Makes Significant Strides in Marijuana Conviction Expungements
Missouri state officials have successfully expunged the records of more than 100,000 marijuana-related cases over the past year. This achievement is a direct result of the provisions included in the state’s voter-approved adult-use legalization law. Dan Viets, a NORML Board Member and co-author of the law, emphasized the significance of this automatic expungement, stating that it is one of the most crucial aspects of Article XIV. The law not only halts approximately 20,000 marijuana arrests each year but also mandates the state government to reverse much of the damage inflicted on countless Missourians during the past century.
Viets acknowledged that the process of expungement might take years, especially for older cases that have never been digitized. Many of these records are stored in physical formats, requiring extensive effort to locate and review them. Despite these challenges, the progress made thus far is substantial, and additional cases are expected to be expunged in the future.
Missouri joins twenty-four other states and the District of Columbia in enacting laws that provide clear pathways to expunge or set aside the records of individuals with low-level marijuana convictions. Since 2018, state and local officials have issued over 100,000 pardons and more than 1.7 million marijuana-related expungements, as per data compiled by NORML.
This legislative progress reflects a growing trend across the United States to rectify the long-term impacts of marijuana prohibition and provide relief to millions affected by past cannabis convictions.
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