Missouri Courts Request $3.7 Million for Marijuana Conviction Expungements

Marijuana Expungements Funding: Clearing the Smoke on Missouri’s Efforts

Hey there, fellow cannabis ! Today, let’s dive deeper into a topic that’s been making waves in the world of weed – Marijuana Expungements Funding. If you haven’t heard about it yet, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll explore what’s been happening in Missouri, where they’ve been on a mission to clear past marijuana convictions, and why they need a cool $3.7 million to keep the momentum going.

The Journey So Far

Alright, so picture this: Missouri, the Show-Me , voted to legalize marijuana back in 2022. It was a big deal, and one of the major selling points was the promise of clearing the slate for folks with past marijuana-related convictions. You know, giving them a fresh start and all that jazz.

Fast forward to today, and over 100,000 marijuana charges have already been wiped clean from people’s criminal records in Missouri. Sounds impressive, right? Well, it is, but here’s the catch – they’re not exactly sure how many more charges are left to expunge because a bunch of court records are still living in the pre-digital age. Bummer, right?

The Need for Greenbacks

So, here’s the deal. In Missouri, it’s the law that any moolah generated from taxes on recreational marijuana and paid by cannabis businesses has to first go towards the state’s expenses for regulating the program. After that, it’s a go for the court system to cover their costs for expunging certain marijuana offenses from people’s records.

Last year, the good folks in the Missouri legislature approved a cool $4.5 million to help the state courts handle the load. They even tossed in an extra $2.5 million in a supplemental budget. But guess what? It’s not enough.

Missouri’s circuit courts are on a mission, and they’re asking for another $3.7 million to keep the wheels turning. They’ve got to reimburse their expenses for expungements, and this money is essential for the . But it’s not just a free-for-all; there’s a called the Circuit Court Budget Committee that oversees this whole shebang.

Who’s Getting the Green?

Now, let’s talk about who’s been getting a piece of the pie. As of January 2, Missouri courts have granted a whopping 103,558 expungements. Leading the pack is Greene County, snagging nearly $940,000 and completing over 4,300 expungements. Not too shabby, Greene County!

But here’s where it gets interesting – the second-highest number comes from Laclede County, with a population of just 36,000. They’ve done 3,515 expungements and received a little over $35,000. It’s like David taking on Goliath, and they’re winning!

St. Louis County, the state’s largest with over a million people, has processed 3,479 expungements and got a sweet $135,000. Keep it up, St. Louis!

Franklin County, with a population of 104,000, is in fourth place, completing 3,200 expungements and pocketing around $53,000. And Jackson County, with a hefty 717,000 population, has completed 2,900 and raked in nearly $195,000. Who knew the smaller counties would give the big ones a run for their money?

The Nitty-Gritty of Expungements

So, how are these courts doing it? Well, it’s not as simple as waving a magic wand and making those convictions disappear. Greene County, for example, brought in four experienced retired clerks to tackle the job. They’re like the Avengers of expungements, assembling in February and hitting the ground running.

The Office of State Court Administrator provided them with a list of pre-screened cases, potentially involving marijuana charges. These clerks had to meticulously go through each case to see if it had anything to do with Mary Jane. It’s like being a detective, but with more paperwork.

But wait, there’s more! Some records are still living in the paper age, dating back to 1989. That means someone has to go through each and every criminal to figure out if it’s eligible for . Talk about slow and tedious!

The “Automatic” Expungements Myth

During the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana, supporters touted “automatic expungements.” Sounds cool, right? It means people who’ve already done their time for past charges don’t have to beg the court for forgiveness; their records are supposed to vanish into thin air.

However, here’s the reality check – it’s not that automatic. The process is like a jigsaw puzzle, and you need someone with expertise to put the pieces together. It’s especially true for those ancient paper records, which are all manual, by the way.

More Funds, More Power

Now, let’s talk solutions. Many county clerks are doing their best, but they need more funds and more hands on deck. Johnson County, with a population of 54,000, has managed 529 expungements but could use extra help. They’re not just dealing with expungements but also a massive redacting project. Talk about multitasking!

In Jackson County, they’ve reviewed over 20,000 files, including both felony and misdemeanor drug charges. They’ve expunged nearly 3,000 charges, but there’s a twist – not all of them were related to marijuana. Now, they’re on a mission to access old criminal databases to uncover more hidden gems.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, folks – the lowdown on Marijuana Expungements Funding in Missouri. It’s a complex, time-consuming process, but it’s essential for righting past wrongs and giving people a fresh start.

We want to give a shoutout to Rebecca Rivas from Missouri Independent for bringing us this update. Keep up the good work, Rebecca!

And to all you cannabis enthusiasts out there, stay tuned for more exciting news from the world of weed. Until next time, toke responsibly, and let’s keep the conversation rolling!

Q&A

  • Q: Why does Missouri need more funding for marijuana expungements?
  • A: Missouri needs more funding to cover the costs of expunging past marijuana convictions, as mandated by law.
  • Q: How many expungements have been granted so far in Missouri?
  • A: As of January 2, over 100,000 expungements have been granted in Missouri.
  • Q: Are expungements in Missouri truly automatic?
  • A: While they were marketed as “automatic,” the process involves legal expertise and thorough record reviews.

Thanks for reading!

Rosemary Puffman
I'm Rosemary, a staunch supporter of cannabis legalization and its potential benefits. My roles as a writer, cannabis entrepreneur, and informed investor allow me to contribute to the evolving narrative around cannabis. Through my writing, I aim to destigmatize and educate, while my business ventures and strategic investments align with my belief in the positive impact of responsible cannabis use.

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