ALASKA – The Alaska House voted in an overwhelming majority to seal the criminal records of 8.500 Alaskans who were convicted of cannabis-related crimes, Cannabis Business Times reports.
House Bill 246, which passed in a 30-8 vote on April 20th, aims to eliminated the stigma against Alaskans convicted of non-violent cannabis crimes prior to 2014. The legislation will decrease the penalty for cannabis position from a misdemeanor to a violation similar to an underaged drinking offense for people ages 18-20. It will also seal all convictions involving less than an ounce of cannabis from Alaska’s criminals records databases.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, believes those convicted of cannabis-related offences should not be denied equal employment and housing opportunities in the state.
“It’s been eight years since Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana and our marijuana laws need to reflect our new normal,” said Kreiss-Tomkins. “It’s crazy that a 20-year-old Alaskan—who is also old enough for military service and to go to war—could be incarcerated for up to 90 days for simple possession of pot.”
For H.B. 246 to reach Governor Mike Dunleavy, the House and Senate must reach a consensus on their versions of the legislation.