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Missouri has expunged the records of more than 7,500 people who had prior cannabis-related convictions. The state legalized recreational cannabis last year after voters approved an amendment to allow adults aged 21 and older to purchase, possess and consume cannabis.
On top of legalizing recreational cannabis, the constitutional amendment also allowed individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses to petition for release from prison, parole and expungements of their records.
Riverfront Times reports that the measure kicked off a process of expunging cannabis offenses from criminal records. Misdemeanors have made up the majority of the cases that have been expunged so far, the report says, with courts expunging 6,121 nonviolent marijuana-related misdemeanors and more than 1,200 felony convictions.
Misdemeanors that involved driving under the influence of cannabis or selling cannabis to minors did not qualify for the expungement. Individuals who are currently incarcerated for qualified cannabis offenses qualify for the expungement and at least one person has already been released.
The expungement process is going faster than expected, said secretary of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Dan Viets. Viets coauthored the state’s recreational and medical cannabis regulations. Overall, it seems like Missouri is fast-tracking its efforts to implement recent cannabis laws.
Adult-use cannabis sales began earlier than expected and just a month after the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said that it was nearly done drafting rules for the new recreational cannabis program. The department said in January that once the new rules were effective, it would begin approving requests from licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to convert their licenses and allow them to sell both medical and recreational cannabis.
The DHSS also said that it would begin taking applications to allow people aged 21 years and older to grow cannabis at home for personal use in enclosed and locked facilities.
Amendment 3 set deadlines for courts to complete expungements for people with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. The deadline for people who are currently serving time for cannabis-related misdemeanors was March 8, 2023, while the deadline for expunging other crimes is around three and a half months away, the Times said. Circuit courts have until June 8, 2023, to facilitate the expungement of all misdemeanor cannabis offenses for individuals who aren’t under the Department of Correction’s supervision.
Furthermore, the state’s circuit courts have up to December 8, 2023, to expunge the records of people who had already served time for federal cannabis offenses that are now considered legal activities.
Meanwhile, significant strides forward are being made by companies such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), which specialize in developing medicinal formulations from various cannabinoids, such as THC.
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