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Organization says some Missouri counties yet to expunge marijuana cases; deadline is Thursday


Legal marijuana advocates are raising concerns as a deadline looms to expunge most pot-related offenses from Missouri residents' criminal records.

Thursday is the deadline for Missourians' marijuana charges to be expunged to comply with Amendment 3, which legalized recreational marijuana statewide last November.

According to the Office of State Courts Administrator 46,680 cases have been expunged state-wide. Several counties have removed at least 1,000 cases and Buchanan County leads the state with over 2000 cases expunged, the organization says, citing data from the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

As far as Mid-Missouri, Cooper County has 1508 cases expunged, followed by Boone and Osage County with 374 cases each and Cole County with 295 cases expunged. Callaway County has removed  two cases and Randolph has expunged four.

Below is a county-by-county expungements breakdown:

ABC 17 spoke with lawyer and marijuana advocate Dan Viets about why the expungement process is so important.

"For many decades our state has squandered millions and millions of our tax dollars inflicting criminal records on people who have harmed no one. Getting these cases out of that database is extremely important to people who are seeking a loan to purchase a home or a car, who are seeking a job or who are just trying to rent a place to live."  Said Viets.

The quickly approaching deadline also leads to the question, what happens if counties don't meet the deadline?

"What we would very likely seek is what's called a writ of mandamus, a writ from the courts ordering that the public officials involved here follow the law. I suspect, we would try going directly to the courts of appeals or the Missouri supreme court." Viets said.

If the counties still fail to comply with the rule, they would be held in contempt of court and subject to penalties like fines and potentially jail time.

Expenses incurred by circuit courts in the expungement of cases will be paid for or reimbursed by revenue from the 6% statewide sales tax on marijuana, according to the amendment's language.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri

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Isabella Roberts


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