ST. LOUIS — Following the passing of Amendment 3, we’re taking a closer look at what this means for criminal marijuana offenses and the automatic expungement of some offenses.
Amendment 3 has now become Article 14, Section 2 of the Missouri Constitution.
Missouri NORML Attorney Dan Viets said state courts have six months to wipe thousands of criminal history records clean of marijuana-related offenses.
“Anyone who has a municipal or state possession charge -- which is a misdemeanor of either paraphernalia or marijuana itself -- should have an automatic expungement of that by June 8, 2023," Viets said.
Viets said people who are in a correctional facility or on parole for marijuana-related offenses are going to have to go through a legal process to get those charges taken off their criminal records.
“Up to three pounds should be automatically expunged but amounts above that are very likely to be expunged as well, but they will not be automatic. The defendant should contact an attorney, who does criminal defense law in order to pursue an expungement through the courts on larger amount cases,” Viets said.
He said the courts have a year to take felony pot offenses, that are no longer a crime, off the records of people who already served time in prison or jail and are no longer on parole.
ACLU Attorney Tony Rothert said marijuana drug charges on someone's record can prevent them from getting a job, finding housing and more.
“One way that it can have a big effect on someone's life is it makes you ineligible for any federal student assistance to continue your education beyond high school. So, student loans, Pell Grants are automatically off the table, if you have a conviction on your record for any marijuana offense, no matter how young you were, or how minor it was,” Rothert said.
Rothert said they're going to keep a close eye on Missouri courts to make sure this happens.
“They'll hear about it if it's not, but we fully trust the government of Missouri to take this new constitutional right as seriously as they do every other constitutional right,” Rothert said.
Viets said tax on marijuana in Missouri is expected to bring in $41 million and some of that money will be used for the expungement process which is estimated to cost between $6 and $7 million.
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