Missouri Expunges Over 100,000 Cannabis Offenses in First Year of Legalization, Despite Court Deadline Challenges

Cannabis Offenses Expunged: Missouri’s Remarkable Journey

Hey there, fellow cannabis enthusiasts! Today, I’m diving into an exciting development in the world of weed – the expungement of cannabis offenses in the great state of Missouri. So, grab your favorite strain, kick back, and let’s explore this fantastic journey together.

The Road to Reform

**Cannabis Offenses Expunged** – that’s the buzzword in Missouri these days. In a groundbreaking move, the Show-Me State has taken a giant leap toward righting the wrongs of the past. But how did we get here?

**Albeit** Missouri’s long-standing history of cannabis prohibition, winds of change have been blowing in recent years. The turning point came in 2022 when a constitutional amendment was approved with **both** recreational and marijuana legalization. Yet, it wasn’t just about lighting up legally; it was about making amends.

**No sooner** had the law passed than the state’s officials began the Herculean task of expunging the records of those who had been tangled in the web of outdated cannabis laws.

The Expungement Numbers Game

Now, let’s talk numbers. In just one year since the legalization wave swept through the state, Missouri officials have gone above and beyond by expunging over 100,000 cannabis-related cases. That’s right, you heard me correctly, a whopping 100,000 cases! It’s like a giant eraser just swiped through the history books.

However, there’s a twist in this tale. While many courts hustled to meet the expungement deadline, some missed the Friday cutoff for felony cases. **As a result**, the journey to justice for these individuals might take a bit longer than expected.

**Nevertheless**, the commitment to the cause remains unwavering. Dan Viets, a lawyer and coordinator for the Missouri NORML, summed it up perfectly when he said, “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.”

The Heart of the Matter

This expungement provision isn’t just about numbers; it’s about righting the wrongs of the past. According to Viets, this is “one of the most significant parts” of the new state marijuana law. Not only has it put the brakes on around 20,000 marijuana-related arrests each year, but it’s also about undoing the damage inflicted on countless Missourians over the past century.

**After all**, it’s not just about the plant; it’s about the people whose lives were affected.

The Herculean Task Ahead

But let’s not kid ourselves; this isn’t a cakewalk. The sheer age of these case records means they’re not digitized. They’ve never seen the light of a computer screen. So, we’re talking about old-school, boots-on-the-ground work to find, dust off, and expunge these historical records.

**Additionally**, it’s worth noting that Missouri’s unique position, with decades of prohibition, means that many of these older cases are tucked away in dusty corners where digital eyes have never ventured.

Where’s the Money Coming From?

Now, you might be wondering, “Who’s footing the bill for this massive undertaking?” Well, the state’s 6 percent sales tax on adult-use marijuana has stepped up to the plate. And it seems that tax has been a real MVP, generating far more revenue than initially anticipated.

**So**, in a twist of fate, the revenue generated from cannabis sales is contributing to the erasure of past cannabis offenses.

Follow the Money

Speaking of revenue, here’s a fun fact: last month, marijuana sales in Missouri crossed the impressive $1 billion mark for 2023. That includes both adult-use and medical marijuana sales. And, in a heartwarming twist, $17 million of that revenue is earmarked for ’ health, drug treatment, and legal aid.

**In a word**, the financial windfall from legalized cannabis is benefiting more than just the state’s coffers; it’s making a real difference in the lives of many.

Deadlines and Consequences

Now, let’s talk deadlines. The state had until June 8 to automatically expunge misdemeanors and until December 8 to clear felonies. As of now, more than 99,000 cases have already been expunged, with over 2,000 cases getting the green light each week. Impressive, right?

**However**, there’s a catch. Counties that missed the deadline are potentially in violation of the state’s Constitution. Legal action might be on the horizon in the form of a writ of mandamus. Ouch!

**But** let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. The fact that tens of thousands of individuals have already had their records expunged is a significant win for the cause.

The Rural Divide

Here’s an interesting tidbit. It seems that the pace of expungements varies across Missouri’s 114 counties. The smaller, rural counties, where support for Amendment 3 is less, seem to be lagging behind. **Conversely**, larger urban areas are moving swiftly to clear their records.

**This**, perhaps, reflects the broader societal divide when it comes to cannabis .

A Bumpy Ride for Missouri’s Marijuana Industry

Now, let’s shift our focus to the broader canvas of Missouri’s marijuana landscape. It’s been a year of ups and downs. Tens of thousands of products faced recalls due to alleged illegal use of hemp-derived from outside the state.

**Moreover**, the incident put state marijuana on their toes regarding practices at product testing , which had already been under scrutiny for “lab ” practices aimed at inflating THC potency numbers.

**Additionally**, another company, Retailer Point Management, operating as Shangri-La in Columbia, recently settled a dispute with a union over unfair labor practices. It’s part of a broader movement to organize the industry.

Pushing for Change

Meanwhile, lawmakers are still butting heads with marijuana regulators over rules on product branding and packaging aimed at preventing appeal to children. Businesses are also challenging the “stacked” local and county , claiming it’s unconstitutional.

**All in all**, it’s a dynamic where change is the only constant.

A Psychedelic Twist

And just when you thought things couldn’t get more interesting, two Missouri Republicans have pre-filed bills to legalize the medical use of and explore its therapeutic potential through clinical trials. It’s a brave new world indeed.

In Conclusion

There you have it, my friends! The story of Missouri’s journey to expunge cannabis offenses is a rollercoaster of highs and lows. We’ve seen remarkable progress, but also encountered challenges along the way. It’s a testament to the power of change and the determination to right the wrongs of the past.

**In a nutshell**, this journey is far from over, but it’s a journey worth taking.

Before I sign off, I want to give a shoutout to Ben Adlin for reporting this fascinating story. Thanks to his dedication, we’re all in the know about this incredible journey. Keep blazing the trail, my fellow cannabis enthusiasts, and stay tuned for more updates from the world of weed!

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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