Automatic Marijuana Expungements Passed Unanimously By D.C. Council

A criminal justice reform bill that includes a provision for the automatic expungement of marijuana charges has been passed in a unanimous vote by the Washington D.C. Council.

The Second Chance Amendment Act was passed by the council by a vote of 13 to 0. This sends the proposal to Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is expected to quickly sign the measure into law.

The act initially stated that a criminal charge for the simple possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would be automatically expunged by the court from people’s records. However, the council approved an amendment by Councilmember Christina Henderson to change the two ounce limit to include “any quantity of marijuana”.

The text of the proposal states:

“The Court shall order automatic expungement of all criminal records and court proceedings related only to citations, arrests, charges, or convictions for the commission of a criminal offense that has subsequently been decriminalized, legalized, or held to be unconstitutional by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia or the Supreme Court of the United States, or records related only to simple possession for any quantity of marijuana in violation of D.C. Code § 48-904.01(d)(1) before February 15, 2015.

Under the proposed law all expungements would be required to be completed by January 1, 2025, or “within 90 days after termination of the case by the prosecutor or final disposition, whichever is later.”

The council also approved legislation that would significantly expand the district’s medical marijuana program, including making permanent a provision to allow individuals to self-certify that they’re a qualified medical marijuana patient.