Sarah Climaco

Alaska House Passes Bill Restricting Public Access to Some Cannabis Possession Criminal Records

Alaska’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that would restrict public access to some criminal records for simple cannabis possession, according to a KTVA report. The measure is intended to make it easier for those with possession convictions to get employed.

Who would benefit? Individuals 21 or older at the time of the offense who were convicted of possessing 1 ounce of cannabis or less, according to the bill text.

State Rep. Harriet Drummond, the Democratic sponsor of the bill, called the measure “a reasonable approach to allow Alaskans to get jobs currently unavailable to them because they did something that Alaskans have voted repeatedly they believe should be entirely legal.”

“This bill does not benefit drug dealers. Rather, it helps mothers and fathers clear their names from past mistakes, allows many of our friends and neighbors to apply for jobs they didn’t think they could ever get, and strengthens communities by providing new opportunities for those who continue to be held back by something that is no longer against the rules.” – Drummond to KTVA

At least three states that have legalized cannabis have moved to expunge small-time possession offenses from criminal records. The reforms were included in California’s voter-approved legalization bill, and lawmakers have introduced a measure that would automatically expunge simple possession convictions. Oregon lawmakers passed a similar measure in 2015, while the Massachusetts legislature is considering its own bill to expunge some convictions.

The Alaskan bill will move next to the Senate.

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