Missouri Courts Expunge Over 44,000 Marijuana Convictions Ahead of June 8 Deadline

Over 44,000 marijuana cases have been expunged in Missouri under Article XIV of the state’s constitution, including over 10,000 felony convictions.

Article XIV was included in the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law. The initiative requires courts to expunge all eligible misdemeanor marijuana convictions by Thursday, June 8th.

Multiple counties including Audrain, Clay, Cooper, Carter, Greene, Laclede, McDonald, Pettis, Phelps, Saline, St. Charles, Scott, and St. Francois have each expunged at least 1,000 cases each, with Buchanan county leading the way with over 2,000.

As noted by NORML, several other counties have made little or no effort to comply with Article XIV. For example, Callaway County has expunged only two cases, Crawford County has expunged only a single conviction, Gasconade has expunged ten cases, Maries County has expunged just four cases.,Randolph has expunged only three cases, Ralls County and Shelby County have expunged five cases each and Gentry, Holt, Knox, Mercer and Putnam Counties have not expunged a single eligible case.

Missouri NORML Coordinator Dan Viets, who co-authored Article XIV, said that advocates may engage in litigation to compel greater compliance with the law. “It is clear that many counties have made no serious effort to comply with the requirements of the Missouri Constitution,” he said. “It should not be necessary to seek a court order in order to force our courts to comply with the Missouri Constitution, but if that is what is required, we may pursue that option. There is no reason why these counties should be dragging their feet and failing to comply with the law as passed by the voters of our state.”

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws providing explicit pathways to either expunge (or otherwise set aside) the records of those with low-level marijuana convictions.

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