U.S. House Representatives Troy Carter (D-LA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would establish a process for expunging low-level federal cannabis charges.
HR 8557, or The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, would direct the Chief Justice of the United States to “promulgate procedures or practices for the examination, expungement, sealing, receivership, and redaction of official documents” related to any “non-violent federal misdemeanor, petty misdemeanor”. misdemeanor, infraction or civil penalty involving marijuana”. Additionally, the bill would allow anyone with a qualified record to file an expungement motion in the federal district where their arrest and any subsequent legal consequences occurred.
“I am proud to introduce…bipartisan legislation that will bring justice to millions of Americans who have suffered disproportionate collateral consequences associated with marijuana-related crimes,” said Democratic Rep. Troy Carter.
“These offenses – even without a conviction – can lead to restrictions on people’s ability to access education assistance, housing assistance, professional licenses and even foster parenting. Bringing justice to our citizens who have been impacted by marijuana-related crimes is a key part of comprehensive cannabis reform. — Carter, in a Press release
“Given the number of states… where marijuana has long been legalized for adult use, we need to ensure that our criminal justice system keeps pace so that people who have committed minor offenses related to its use [are not precluded] get jobs and participate in society,” Republican Rep. Rodney Davis said.
According to Morgan Fox, NORML’s policy director, “it is increasingly clear to policy makers that imposing on people the lifelong collateral consequences of even a low level marijuana arrest or conviction is unfair and does not bring any legitimate benefit to society.
“Facilitating the expungement of minor federal marijuana offenses is a necessary step that will allow those affected to reach their full potential,” Fox said in a press release.
Earlier this year, House lawmakers approved the MORE Act, a cannabis legalization bill by Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY), that would also make it easier to expunge low-level cannabis-related crimes. Other federal cannabis proposals tabled this year — including the State Reform Act by Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (SC) and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act introduced last month by the Chief of Senate Majority Democrat Chuck Schumer (NY) – also feature federal expungement measures.
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