American Medical Association Adopts Cannabis Expungement Resolution

American Medical Association Adopts Cannabis Expungement Resolution
High Times

The American Medical Association announced last week that it has approved a resolution calling on states that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis to expunge the records of arrests and convictions for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer illegal. The AMA, the largest professional association for physicians in the United States, announced on June 14 that it had formally adopted the policy change at the Annual Meeting of its House of Delegates held in Chicago last week. In a statement, the AMA wrote that the goal of the policy change is “to introduce equity and fairness into the fast-changing effort to legalize cannabis.” The group notes that at least 18 states have legalized cannabis for use by adults and more than three dozen have passed legislation allowing for the use of medical weed. However, in many states, those who were arrested or convicted of cannabis offenses before legalization measures were enacted still carry the burden associated with a criminal record. “This affects young people aspiring to careers in medicine as well as many others who are denied housing, education, loans and job opportunities,” said AMA trustee Scott Ferguson, M.D. “It simply isn’t fair to ruin a life based on actions that result in convictions but are subsequently legalized or decriminalized.”  The AMA went on to note that even when arrest and conviction records are expunged, affected persons often still face collateral consequences such as disqualification from eligibility for public benefits such as health insurance programs. The group also called for the expungement process to be automated, acknowledging that relief often entails complex or costly measures by those seeking to have their records cleared. “Expungement is no panacea,” Ferguson said. “It can be a lengthy and expensive process. Automatic expungement would relieve people of having to figure out and pay for the…

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