California Legislature Approves Marijuana Expungement Bill

Legislation that would allow for the expungement (removal from criminal record) of over 200,000 past marijuana-related convictions has been given approval by California’s full legislature.

The full California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 1793, which was filed by Assemblymember Rob Bontag. The measure now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or veto it.

The legislation requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to compile a list of individuals that would either be eligible for a complete expungement  of their marijuana-related convictions, or for a reduction in sentencing. This would  apply to any marijuana charge that has since been legalized under Proposition 64; this includes possessing up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

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Delaware Senate Unanimously Approves Marijuana Expungement Measure

Legislation to provide mandatory expungement eligibility to those convicted of certain marijuana offenses has been passed by Delaware’s full Senate.

Senate Bill 197 was passed yesterday by Delaware’s Senate in a unanimous 20 to 0 vote, with one member abstaining. According to the measure’s synopsis, “This Act provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession, use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware’s decriminalization of these offenses.” To be eligible for the mandatory expungement, “the marijuana conviction must be the applicant’s only criminal conviction.”

The legislation was introduced by Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R), and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D). It will now go to the House of Represenatives, where passage would send it to John Carney for consideration.

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Illinois House Committee Votes to Allow Expungement of Past Marijuana and Paraphernalia Convictions

Illinois legislation that would allow for individuals to have marijuana (and marijuana paraphernalia) possession charges expunged (removed) from their records has been advanced in the state’s legislature.

Since the passage of a law decriminalizing marijuana in 2016, the possession of up to 10 grams is no longer a criminal offense in Illinois. House Bill 2367, filed by State Representative La Shawn Ford, would allow those who received a charge for possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana (or for possessing paraphernalia) prior to this law taking effect to petition their circuit court to have the conviction expunged from their criminal record. This would mean it would no longer show up on a background check. In order for the individual to apply, three or more years must have passed since the petitioner had their sentence completed.

According to La Shawn Ford, “law enforcement would have a right to object to it”, which he calls fair. “You have to go before a judge, the judge will look at it, and ultimately grant a ‘yes’ or a ‘no'”, says Ford.

Read moreIllinois House Committee Votes to Allow Expungement of Past Marijuana and Paraphernalia Convictions

Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalty, Allow Marijuana Expungements

Legislation that would reduce the penalty for, and allow for the expungement of, first time marijuana possession charges has been passed by Virginia’s full Senate.

marijuana terminologyThe Senate voted 38 to 2 today to pass Senate Bill 954, which was filed by Senator Tommy Norment (R). The measure “Reduces the penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of not more than $500”, whereas currently such a charge can result in up to 30 days in jail. The bill also provides that a first offense for possession of marijuana is eligible for expungement, given the individual charged pays a $150 fee (which would  go to the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic Fund)

Senator Norment says that although the measure is far from perfect and isn’t as large of a law change as he’d prefer, it still “makes a substantial step forward.”

Read moreVirginia Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalty, Allow Marijuana Expungements

California Bill Would Automatically Expunge Past Marijuana Convictions

California Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has introduced legislation that would require county courts to automatically expunge the records of those who have been charged with a marijuana-related crime that’s since been legalized, reports Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press.

In 2016 California voters approved the ability to wipe criminal marijuana conviction records as a provision in the legalization initiative Proposition 64. However, the existing law requires people with convictions to initiate the process themselves, but many people don’t (often because they don’t know they can, as the option has received little publicity) For some, the process is simply to complicated and costly. Although roughly 5,000 people have applied for an expungement as of 2017, it’s only a small portion of the total number of people eligible.

The proposed law would change this, requiring that these eligible charges be expunged from people’s records automatically. This would remove the requirement that an individual themselves seek an expungement. According to Bonta, the proposal would “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to”.

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Multiple House Committees in Colorado Approve Bill to Allow Sealing of Marijuana Misdemeanors

A Colorado measure to allow those previously convicted of a marijuana possession misdemeanor to have the conviction sealed from their criminal record has been passed through three House committees.

House Bill 1266 was given approval by the House Judiciary Committee last week with a 9 to 2 vote; yesterday it passed the House Finance Committee unanimously, and today it was passed by the House Appropriations Committee. It will now be up for a vote in the full House of Representatives where passage will send it to the full Senate for consideration.

According to its official summary; “The bill allows persons who were convicted of misdemeanors for the use or possession of marijuana to petition for the sealing of criminal records relating to such convictions if their behavior would not have been a criminal offense if the behavior had occurred on or after December 10, 2012. The court shall order the record sealed after the filing fees are paid and the petitioner establishes the offense is eligible for sealing.”

Read moreMultiple House Committees in Colorado Approve Bill to Allow Sealing of Marijuana Misdemeanors

Maryland House Approves Marijuana Expungement Bill, Already Passed Senate

A marijuana expungement bill has been passed by Maryland’s full House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 949 was given approval by the House today with a 94 to 43 vote; the measure has already passed the Senate with a unanimous 47 to 0 vote. Given it was amended in the House, it will need to go back to the Senate to receive one final vote before being sent to Governor Larry Hogan for final consideration.

According to official language, Senate Bill 949 would allow for the expungement (removal) of a marijuana charge if “the person was convicted of possession of marijuana under §5–601 of the Criminal Law Article”. The measure initially required “that filing fees for petitions for expungement collected by the District Court be remitted to the Administrative Office of the Court be used only for a specified purpose”, but that was amended out in the House.

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Maryland House Passes Marijuana Expungement Bill, Companion Measure Already Passed Senate

Legislation allowing for the expungement (removal from record) of certain marijuana possession offenses has been passed by Maryland’s full House of Representatives.

House Bill 379 was passed by the House with a 104 to 32 vote. A companion measure, Senate Bill 949, was given approval by the Senate last week with a unanimous 47 to 0 vote.

According to its official synopsis, House Bill 379 allows a person “to file a petition for expungement if the person was convicted of possession of marijuana before October 1, 2014. The proposal requires “that filing fees for petitions for expungement collected by the District Court be remitted to the Administrative Office of the Court be used only for a specified purpose.”

Read moreMaryland House Passes Marijuana Expungement Bill, Companion Measure Already Passed Senate

Marijuana Expungement Bill Passed Unanimously by Maryland Senate

Maryland’s full Senate has given approval to Senate Bill 949 to allow marijuana expungements.

The proposal was passed by the Senate Wednesday with a unanimous 47 to 0 vote. A companion bill – House Bill 379was passed today by the House Judiciary Committee.

The proposed laws “expands eligibility for expungements to include convictions for possession of marijuana under § 5-601 of the Criminal Law Article before October 1, 2014.” October 1st, 2014 marked the first day of a law that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the state.

Read moreMarijuana Expungement Bill Passed Unanimously by Maryland Senate

Maryland Senate Committee Votes in Favor of Marijuana Expungement Bill

Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has given a favorable vote to Senate Bill 949.

Marijuana ExpungementThe proposal would allow a person convicted of possession of marijuana before October 1, 2014 to file for an expungement (removal) of the charge. According to its official summary; “This bill expands eligibility for expungements to include convictions for possession of marijuana under § 5-601 of the Criminal Law Article before October 1, 2014.”

October 1st, 2014 marked the first day of a new statewide law in Maryland that decriminalized the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, making it a civil fine rather than an arrestable misdemeanor.

Read moreMaryland Senate Committee Votes in Favor of Marijuana Expungement Bill