Montana Supreme Court OKs Temporary Rules For Cannabis Expungement

Montana Supreme Court OKs Temporary Rules For Cannabis Expungement
High Times

The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday issued temporary rules related to expungement procedures for individuals previously convicted for a pot-related offense. As reported by local television station KPAX, the new adult-use recreational cannabis law in Montana “says anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense.” On Tuesday, per Montana Public Radio, the high court “approved temporary rules that outline procedures for expunging or revising marijuana-related convictions.” Those temporary rules “are effective upon approval and adoption by the Montana Supreme Court,” the state said, adding that they will remain in effect until “a marijuana conviction court is created as authorized by the [Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act].” KPAX, citing a state court administrator, reported that “the biggest clarification [the state] wanted to make was letting people know they could submit their expungement request to the court where they were originally sentenced.” The administrator said there “had been some confusion because of a separate expungement procedure for misdemeanors that requires all defendants to go through district courts.” Montana voters passed a legalization initiative in the 2020 election, and the new law took effect last summer when Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 701 to implement the new adult-use cannabis program. Gianforte said he was particularly impressed with the HEART Fund, which will use revenue from the recreational pot program to fund substance abuse treatment. “From the start, I’ve been clear that we need to bring more resources to bear to combat the drug epidemic that’s devastating our communities,” Gianforte said after signing the legislation. “Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer…

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