COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Friday was the deadline for counties in Missouri to expunge felony marijuana cases, however some counties are behind, according to one attorney and author of Amendment 14.
Friday also marks the one-year anniversary of marijuana becoming legalized in Missouri.
Dan Viets, attorney and secretary of the National Board of Directors of NORML, said more than 100,000 cases have been expunged in Missouri this year. Viets said numerous cases still need to be expunged across the state. The main issue in getting the cases expunged is from older cases not being computerized, according to Viets.
By law, all felony cases in the state need to be expunged.
"So for some of those older cases, it's going to mean physically digging through old paper files," Viets said. "They're stored in attics and warehouses and finding those records, but you know they find them when it suits the state's purposes."
ABC 17 News reached out to the Boone, Cole, Callaway, Osage, Randolph, Howard and other surrounding counties regarding how many cases they have remaining that need to be expunged. None of them were available. Misdemeanor charges were expected to be expunged in June.
However, Stephanie Sanders with the Moniteau County Courthouse noted the county has expunged all 561 cases in 2023.
Viets also said he is pleased with the progress being made by courts across the state. That being said, he noted that he believes more counties should be taking advantage of the benefits of Amendment 14. As part of the amendment, a 6% sales tax in the area can be used to help pay for expungement.
Viets said if a county is short-staffed, he doesn't believe that is a valid excuse, stating money from the tax can be used in areas, such as staffing.
"All they have to do is request it. There's plenty of money available," Viets said. "That means many, many millions of dollars are available to pay for expungement, to pay for hiring extra staff."
It could take up to another year for all cases across the state to be expunged, according to Viets.