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After State Reform Law is in Effect, Cleveland Mayor Plans Thousands of Cannabis Expungements

After State Reform Law is in Effect, Cleveland Mayor Plans Thousands of Cannabis Expungements

According to a report by Marijuana Moment, the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio said that the city will move forward with plans to seal thousands of cannabis records. This is because a new state law gives local governments the power to handle mass relief.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed SB 288 into law in January. Mayor Justin Bibb (D) said that when SB 288 goes into effect, the city will be able to keep working to help about 4,000 people get their pot convictions erased.

In addition to providing significant reforms such as reforming sentencing and allowing for easier sealing/erasure of criminal records, Senator Nathan Manning’s (R) state bill now signed into law also affords new opportunities for individuals. 

Under this law, cities are permitted to expunge certain drug convictions including having up to 200 grams of marijuana in their possession. Furthermore, it prohibits people from even getting a criminal record for actions deemed congruent with cannabis possession or use.

In a bid to provide ameliorative opportunities for those convicted of drug crimes, last year the mayor attempted to pardon individuals with marijuana-related convictions only for his efforts to be turned down as city governments lack such authority. Subsequently, in partnership with Senator Nathan Manning (R), laws were created that give cities enhanced power in this regard. With the aid of a U.S. Conference of Mayors grant, expungement workshops have been established where people can receive help in having criminal records sealed.

Moreover, the new law applies statewide wherein county prosecutors and city law directors across Ohio can request expungements on behalf of those convicted of 4th-degree drug crimes or minor misdemeanors. Additionally, cases of minor possession of cannabis paraphernalia will not be included on criminal records nor must they be disclosed when queried upon.

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