ST. LOUIS – Missouri judges could expunge thousands of marijuana offenses this year, though there appears to be some ambiguity for action required on behalf of municipal court divisions.
When Amendment 3 became part of the Missouri constitution, last year, it came with the provision for expunging records. Courts must clear all eligible misdemeanor records of past arrests and convictions for marijuana offenses within six months, and all eligible felony records within a year. Those deadlines are June 8, 2023, and Dec. 8, 2023, respectively.
Municipal division judges with the City of St. Louis met Friday to discuss marijuana expungement, among other topics. Judge Newton McCoy says that the Missouri Municipal Associated Circuit Judges Association came to a conclusion that expungement should not require any action from municipal divisions.
MissouriLawyerMedia.com reports that courts and attorneys have dealt with some question marks with the expungement of cases since December. McCoy says it’s a contentious issue.
For now, McCoy says judges in St. Louis are following several procedures when dealing with a marijuana expungement case.
- Judges will search all pertinent cases
- Judges have created a special disposition called “expungement order,” and will move relevant cases to that classification
- All cases will be handled confidentially
“We will do that until such time as someone higher up in the food chain tells us [the association’s conclusion] actually applies to the municipal divisions,” said McCoy in Friday’s meeting.
Marijuana cases involving violence or distribution to minors are not eligible to be expunged. For more information about marijuana expungement processes in Missouri, click here.
No other judges involved in the meeting raised concerns on marijuana expungements. Their meeting also generated some discussions about “warrant reset” options for certain cases.