Maryland Governor Vetoes Bill To Shield Marijuana Conviction Records From Public View

Maryland Governor Vetoes Bill To Shield Marijuana Conviction Records From Public View

The governor of Maryland vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have shielded people with low-level marijuana convictions from having their records publicized on a statewide database, though it’s not necessarily because he opposed the move. Rather, it appears to be in protest of the legislature failing to pass a separate criminal justice proposal he prioritized. Lawmakers approved the cannabis records legislation in March, sending it to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) desk. It would have prevented the “Maryland Judiciary Case Search from in any way referring to the existence of a certain case in which possession of marijuana is the only charge in the case and the charge was disposed.” An estimated 200,000 Maryland residents who had cannabis convictions that occurred prior to October 1, 2014 stood to benefit from the bill. Currently, people with marijuana possession records must petition the courts to have their records sealed. As originally drafted, the bill would have provided for automatic expungements of prior marijuana possession convictions, though that was scaled back in committee prior to final passage. In a veto letter, which was first noted by NORML, Hogan said the reason he was taking the action was because the House didn’t pass a separate bill that aimed to address violent crime. “Since before the start of the legislative session, I made it very clear that my highest priority was to hold violent criminals accountable and stop the shootings and the murders in Baltimore City,” he said. “While the Senate approved the package by…

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Source : MJ moment
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