Missouri state courts have begun the process of issuing expungements of most nonviolent marijuana offenses from people’s records, thanks to the November passage of a state constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge the records of some who had been criminally charged for its use in the past.
But people familiar with the new law had a word of caution for the nearly 600 Missourians seeking to have the records cleared of marijuana offenses in this phase: It might take a while.
Expungements began on Dec. 8 for people on probation or parole for marijuana offenses involving 3 pounds or less. Their records will be cleared and the remainder of their sentences vacated in circuit courts across the state. The change will affect about 565 people, according to estimates provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections.
For this group, “automatic” means the person is not required by the courts to take any action. But the expungement may not necessarily occur right away, as the courts have a series of deadlines spread out through 2023, and courts will struggle to meet them.
Amendment 3’s expungement deadlines for marijuana-related offenses
- People who are incarcerated, except for driving under the influence or selling to minors, may petition the court to immediately vacate their sentences.
- Those with misdemeanor charges relating to more than 3 pounds of marijuana, who had already completed their supervision,…