Thursday, March 12, 2020
Regular readers know that I am always interested in marijuana reform impacts criminal justice systems, and that I am particularly interested in topics covered in my Federal Sentencing Reporter article, "Leveraging Marijuana Reform to Enhance Expungement Practices," regarding how marijuana reform efforts may be impacting criminal record expungement efforts. Consequently, I was terrifically excited to see this new post and resource from the terrific Collateral Consequences Resource Center authored by Deputy Director David Schlussel under the title "Legalizing marijuana and expunging records across the country."
Readers are urged to check out the full posting and materials, and this snippet from the start of the post provides a flavor of why:
As the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana has now reached a majority of the states, the expungement of criminal records has finally attained a prominent role in the marijuana reform agenda. Laws to facilitate marijuana expungement and other forms of record relief, such as sealing and set-aside, have now been enacted in more than a dozen states. Most of these laws cover only very minor offenses involving small amounts of marijuana, and require individuals to file petitions in court to obtain relief. But a handful of states have authorized streamlined record reforms that will do away with petition requirements and cover more offenses. In the 2020 presidential race, Democratic candidates have called for wide-ranging and automatic relief for marijuana records.
Given these important developments that we expect will continue in the present legislative season, we have put together a chart providing a 50-state snapshot of:
(1) laws legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana; and
(2) laws that specifically provide relief for past marijuana arrests and convictions, including but not limited to conduct that has been legalized or decriminalized.
We hope this tool will help people assess the current state of marijuana reform and work to develop more expansive, accessible, and effective record relief.