House Bill Seeks to Expunge Low-Level Federal Cannabis Charges

Federal lawmakers recently introduced the Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, a bipartisan House proposal seeking to create an expungement mechanism for low-level, non-felony violations of federal cannabis laws.

Full story after the jump.

A bipartisan bill in the U.S. House seeks to create an expungement mechanism for low-level, non-felony violations of federal cannabis laws. The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act, sponsored by Reps. Troy A. Carter Sr. (D-LA) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), would create an expedited process to clear non-felony cannabis offenses in the federal system. 

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. This bipartisan bill will restore justice to millions of Americans who have suffered excessive secondary consequences associated with marijuana-related misdemeanors. These misdemeanors, even without a conviction, can restrict the ability to access educational aid, housing assistance, occupational licensing, and even foster parenting. Delivering justice for people who have been impacted by marijuana-related misdemeanors is a vital part of comprehensive cannabis reform.” — Carter in a press release 

In 2022 and 2023, President Joe Biden (D) issued pardons for people convicted of federal cannabis possession crimes; however, the sponsors of the Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act note that Biden’s actions do not expunge records or remove them from public view.     

“Records matter and carrying a low-level non-criminal petty offense on a record could heavily impact a person’s way of life from sustaining employment to applying to new opportunities,” Armstrong said in a statement. “The Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act gives a second chance to non-violent petty marijuana offenders after the sentence is complete and removes barriers to reentry while upholding the rule of law and supporting a more equitable society.” 

Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced plans to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act, but that action could take years to take effect. 

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