Missouri Marijuana Legalization Takes Effect, But Complicated Expungements Provisions Cause Confusion

Missouri Marijuana Legalization Takes Effect, But Complicated Expungements Provisions Cause Confusion
MJ moment

“Court litigation will be necessary to iron out the ambiguities. We can try and fix the issues with new legislation, but the House and Senate are limited in what we can do because Amendment 3 is a constitutional amendment and not just new legislation.” By Rebecca Rivas, Missouri Independent Thursday is a big day for Missouri. It’s the day the constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use goes into effect, allowing Missourians 21 or older to legally buy or possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants. It’s also the day Missouri’s Department of Corrections says 565 people who are on probation or parole for felony marijuana offenses will start to have their records expunged. Starting Thursday, Missouri’s constitution requires courts to vacate the sentences of people currently on probation or parole for possessing or selling three pounds or less of marijuana, barring the exceptions of DUIs and distributing to a minor. But Thursday’s just the beginning. A huge selling point for those who voted for marijuana legalization, which appeared on the ballot last month as Amendment 3, was the automatic expungement provision—meaning people who have already served their sentences for past charges don’t have to petition the court and go through a hearing to expunge those charges from their records. The courts will locate their records and make it as if their past marijuana charges never existed. All marijuana-related misdemeanors must be expunged by June 8 and felonies by December 8, 2023. “If they have that scarlet letter or that mark on their record, it puts them out of opportunities that they can get for safer housing, for better employment, for education opportunities,” said Justice Gaston, leader of the Kansas City advocacy group Reale Justice Network and who served as spokesperson for the pro-Amendment…

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