Why it matters:
Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 to legalize cannabis possession and sales, and the state has shown a commitment to expunging nonviolent cannabis cases. However, the deadlines for expungements are unlikely to be met, and there are challenges in ensuring compliance across the state.
What they are saying:
Missouri has expunged nearly 100,000 cannabis convictions, although it has missed the deadlines for expungements. The sheer number of cases and the century-long history of marijuana prohibition in the state make the expungement process challenging. Some counties have been quick to clear cannabis convictions, while others have resisted or delayed expungements.
The big picture:
While the progress in expunging 100,000 cases is noteworthy, it is just the beginning for Missouri. Some believe that the amendment was poorly written and did not consider Missouri law, making compliance difficult. There may be lawsuits if specific communities fail to expunge cannabis-related offenses. It is expected that the full expungement process will take several years to complete.
What to watch:
Watch for potential lawsuits if communities do not put in the effort to expunge cannabis-related offenses. Keep an eye on how quickly the expungement process progresses and whether the deadlines are ultimately met. The varying approaches to expungements across different counties in Missouri may affect the overall timeline.
Missouri’s commitment to expunging nonviolent cannabis offenses is commendable, but it faces challenges due to the large number of cases and inconsistencies across counties. The missed deadlines and potential lawsuits highlight the complexities of implementing such a sweeping expungement process. Despite the progress made, it is clear that the full expungement process will take time and effort.