Rhode Island Expunges 23K Cannabis Possession Charges

The Rhode Island Judiciary has so far expunged 23,000 cannabis possession criminal records under the state’s adult-use cannabis legalization bill, which was signed into law over a year ago.

Full story after the jump.

The Rhode Island Judiciary has so far expunged 23,000 criminal records related to cannabis possession, WPRI reports. The affected cases include 3,015 in Superior Court, 10,650 in District Court, and 9,952 in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. 

The expungement provisions were included in the state’s adult-use cannabis law, which was signed by Gov. Dan McKee over a year ago.  

In an interview with WPRI, State Court Administrator Julie Hamil called the automatic expungements “an organizational feat.” 

“There has been coordination at every level of the judiciary to execute this process in a timely and holistic fashion.” — Hamil to WPRI 

The law included an April 30 deadline to complete the expungement process for singular, simple cannabis possession charges, and officials met that requirement. The second phase of the expungement process will focus on cases where cannabis possession was one of multiple charges or counts. The Rhode Island Judiciary indicated that the courts are on track to complete the expungement process for those cases by July 1. 

Mavis Nimoh, executive director for the Center for Health and Justice Transformation described the process as “seamless,” adding that “so many Rhode Islanders are grateful for its expediency.”    

“Common sense policy on criminal record relief is desperately needed as the state enters into a burgeoning economy that for far too long has penalized its citizens,” Nimoh said. 

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