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Bill In Congress Would Expunge Federal Low-Level Marijuana Convictions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill that would expunge federal convictions for low-level marijuana crimes was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.

A news release announced that the bipartisan bill was introduced by Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (D-LA) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong.  Known as the Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, it would create a mechanism to expunge low-level violations of federal marijuana law.  The measure also provides an expedited, orderly process to clear away non-felony marijuana offenses that are lingering in the federal system.

Carter said the bill would bring justice to those Americans whose lives were disrupted by a misdemeanor marijuana offense.

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” said Carter. “This bipartisan bill will restore justice to millions of Americans who have suffered excessive secondary consequences associated with marijuana-related misdemeanors.  These misdemeanors, even without a conviction, can restrict the ability to access educational aid, housing assistance, occupational licensing, and even foster parenting. Delivering justice for people who have been impacted by marijuana-related misdemeanors is a vital part of comprehensive cannabis reform.”

Cannabis products, including for recreational or medical use, are currently legal in 38 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

The proposed bill is part of an ongoing effort to reform marijuana policies at the federal level.  President Biden issued an executive order in 2022 that pardoned thousands of past federal marijuana possession convictions, and the order was expanded the following year to include thousands more convictions for minor violations under federal and Washington, D.C. marijuana laws.  But Carter and Armstrong noted that clemency acts do not expunge criminal records or remove them from public view, prompting the introduction of the new bill.

“Records matter and carrying a low-level non-criminal petty offense on a record could heavily impact a person’s way of life from sustaining employment to applying to new opportunities,” said Armstrong. “The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act gives a second chance to non-violent petty marijuana offenders after the sentence is complete and removes barriers to reentry while upholding the rule of law and supporting a more equitable society.”

Under the measure, an “expungable event” includes current statutes criminalizing possession and distribution of small amounts of marijuana without remuneration, as well as “any other federal misdemeanor, petty offense, infraction, or civil penalty involving marijuana, including marijuana-related drug paraphernalia” that didn’t involve violence or threats of violence.

This story is just one of many you’ll find in the Cannabis News section of Cannabutter Digest, your go-to resource for all things cannabis-related. Check out our site to find tasty recipes, useful product reviews, and so much more!

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