Missouri has expunged nearly 100,000 cannabis-related convictions, according to a report by KMBC 9. The amendment, designed to rectify the consequences of marijuana prohibition, outlined specific deadlines for expunging convictions, with nearly every misdemeanor cannabis conviction expunged by June 8, and felony convictions slated for expungement by December 8.
While the state officials have not precisely met the deadline laid out in the law, advocates like Dan Viets, who contributed to drafting the constitutional amendment, express satisfaction as long as courts demonstrate a good faith effort to comply. Viets acknowledged the vast scope of the expungement process, stating, “We’re dealing with a century of marijuana prohibition in Missouri. So, there are hundreds of thousands of cases.”
John Mueller, co-owner of 31 Greenlight Dispensary stores, including 15 in Missouri, highlighted the positive impact of adult-use cannabis sales on communities. Tax dollars generated from these sales contribute to municipalities and the state, providing funding for the expungement process. Mueller noted that this financial support is a source of pride for the cannabis industry, emphasizing its inclusion in the state constitution.
Despite the progress made in expunging cannabis convictions, challenges remain. While advocates are generally content with the efforts being made, there is a cautionary note that if communities do not actively engage in the expungement process, legal action may be a possibility. The ongoing expungement initiatives underscore the broader societal shift towards rectifying the consequences of cannabis prohibition and embracing the economic benefits of legal cannabis.