Bipartisan House Bill Would Facilitate Federal Cannabis Misdemeanor Expungements

The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, a bipartisan House proposal filed last week, would facilitate the expungement of low-level federal cannabis misdemeanors.

Full story after the jump.

U.S. House Reps. Troy Carter (D-LA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would establish a process for the expungement of low-level federal cannabis charges.

H.R. 8557, or The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, would direct the Chief Justice of the United States to “promulgate procedures or practices for the review, expungement, sealing, sequester, and redaction of official records” related to any nonviolent “federal misdemeanor, petty offense, infraction, or civil penalty involving marijuana.” Additionally, the bill would allow any individual with a qualifying record to file an expungement motion in the federal district where their arrest, and any subsequent legal consequences, took place.

“I’m proud to introduce … bipartisan legislation that will restore justice to millions of Americans who have suffered inordinate collateral consequences associated with marijuana-related misdemeanors,” said Democratic Rep. Troy Carter.

“These misdemeanors – even without a conviction – can result in restrictions to peoples’ ability to access educational aid, housing assistance, occupational licensing and even foster parenting. Delivering justice for our citizens who have been impacted by marijuana-related misdemeanors is a key component of comprehensive cannabis reform.” — Carter, in a press release

“Given the number of states … where marijuana has long been legalized for adult-use, we must ensure that our criminal justice system keeps pace so that individuals with low-level misdemeanor violations related to its use [are not precluded] from getting jobs and participating in society,” said Republican Rep. Rodney Davis.

According to Morgan Fox, the political director of NORML, “It is increasingly clear to policymakers that saddling people with the lifelong collateral consequences of even a low-level marijuana arrest or conviction is unjust and provides no legitimate benefit to society.

“Facilitating the expungement of minor federal marijuana offenses is a necessary step that will allow impacted people to reach their full potential,” Fox said in a press release.

House lawmakers earlier this year approved the MORE Act, a cannabis legalization bill by Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) which would also facilitate the expungement low-level cannabis crimes. Other federal cannabis proposals filed this year — including the States Reform Act by Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (SC) and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act introduced last month by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) — also carry federal expungement measures.

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