The deadline has now been passed for Missouri to process its non-violent cannabis-related offences for expungement.
On December 08, 2022, Missouri voters passed legislation requiring courts to expunge the convictions of anyone found guilty of possession of 35 grams prior to legalisation.
Courts were given until June 8, 2023 to expunge misdemeanours and December 8, 2023, to process felony convictions.
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ (NORML) regional coordinator Dan Veits more than 100,000 convictions have now been expunged.
Despite this, it is thought that thousands of convictions were not overturned within the one-year deadline, largely due to older case records not being computerised, meaning they take much more time and physical work to resolve.
“Back in June when the misdemeanour deadline passed, there were some counties, at least a half-a-dozen counties, who had apparently made no effort whatsoever,” Viets said.
“There were some counties who had not expunged a single case at that point. But that has changed.”
Explaining that every county had now made the effort to get the process rolling, he emphasised the need for an extension.
“Now the courts are going to need more time to finish the job, and in fact, it might be years before all the cases from the past century are expunged.
“We’ve had more than 100 years of marijuana prohibition in Missouri. Many of the older cases have never been put on a database. So, it’s going to take a lot of physical work to locate those paper records in boxes and attics and go through them.”