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  • Christopher D.

Missouri Courts Expunge Felony Marijuana Convictions


Missouri has entered a new era with the legalization of adult marijuana use, signaling a significant shift in the state's approach to cannabis-related offenses. As part of this groundbreaking change, Missouri courts are undertaking the crucial task of expunging felony marijuana convictions. 


In this blog post, we delve into the expungement process, the challenges faced by court clerks, and the importance of understanding the expungement deadlines. We’ll also explore the relevance of medical marijuana in the evolving landscape, emphasizing why obtaining a medical marijuana card remains a judicious choice.


Understanding Missouri's Expungement Deadlines

When Missouri voters amended the state constitution to legalize adult marijuana use in late 2022, they set specific deadlines for the expungement of marijuana offenses. Misdemeanors are slated to be expunged by June 8, while felonies carry a deadline of December 8. The responsibility for these expungements falls on Circuit Clerks across the state, marking a significant step toward rectifying past convictions.


As of the most recent data from the Supreme Court of Missouri, 97,148 charges have been expunged. The exact number of cases yet to undergo expungement remains uncertain. This meticulous process has posed challenges, particularly for older cases, leading to delays in meeting the stipulated deadlines.


Challenges Faced by Circuit Clerks

The expungement process is intricate and time-consuming, hindering county workers from meeting the prescribed deadlines. NORML Missouri Coordinator Dan Viets acknowledges the challenges but commends the efforts initiated by court clerks to commence the expungement process. The sheer volume of cases, especially older misdemeanors and felonies, demands extensive labor, creating bottlenecks in the workflow.


Springfield’s Greene County stands at the forefront of expungement efforts, with Circuit Clerk Bryan Feemster adopting strategic measures to address the workload. The county has allocated additional resources, including bringing back retired staffers and dedicating a current employee to sift through digital and paper files. Despite these efforts, the intricacy of the process has impacted day-to-day operations, reflecting the magnitude of the expungement endeavor.


The Labor-Intensive Nature of Expungement

Feemster provides insights into the labor-intensive nature of the expungement process, exemplified by employees working on misdemeanor cases dating back to 1988. This meticulous approach involves reviewing each case page by page to remove any references to marijuana-related offenses before archiving the files. The state has allocated funds to cover overtime and additional workers, but the sheer volume of cases inevitably affects the efficiency of clerks' daily responsibilities.


One of the significant challenges in the expungement process is notifying individuals that their expungement has occurred. Outdated contact information in files poses a communication hurdle, with clerks struggling to reach affected individuals. Feemster highlights the dilemma, explaining that once an expungement takes place, confirming it over the phone becomes challenging since the goal is to make it as if the conviction never existed.


In a perfect scenario, the expungement deadlines would be seamlessly met. However, due to the labor-intensive nature of the process, individuals with past convictions are encouraged to proactively check the status of their expungement. Attorney Justin Ortiz emphasizes the need for individuals to be conscious of their history and stay informed about the expungement progress. The expungement process serves as a chance for a fresh start, and individuals should actively engage in ensuring the accuracy and completion of the expungement of their records.


A Prudent Step

Given the complexities and challenges of the expungement process, recommendations from legal experts and officials converge on the importance of individuals contacting the Circuit Clerk's office. While the expungement process aims to make convictions "as if they never were," proactive communication ensures that individuals are aware of their expungement status. Checking in on the process, especially for those with outdated contact information, becomes crucial in navigating this transformative phase.


Amidst the expungement efforts and the evolving landscape of marijuana legalization, the role of medical marijuana emerges as a judicious choice for individuals seeking therapeutic relief. While adult-use marijuana has gained legal recognition, the medical marijuana program in Missouri retains its significance.


Medical marijuana offers a tailored approach to specific health conditions, providing patients with legal access to a diverse range of strains and formulations. The therapeutic properties of marijuana have been acknowledged by individuals who have experienced improvements in their quality of life. The focus on medical marijuana extends beyond the realm of recreational use, ensuring that patients receive treatments aligned with their unique health needs.


Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

For individuals considering the benefits of medical marijuana, obtaining a medical marijuana card is the gateway to a realm of therapeutic options. The card not only signifies legal authorization but also provides individuals with access to expert guidance on strains, dosages, and consumption methods. Amidst the changes in marijuana legislation, the medical marijuana program remains steadfast, offering patients a regulated and reliable avenue for obtaining the therapeutic benefits of marijuana.


As recreational marijuana gains legal recognition, the bridge to the medical marijuana program becomes crucial for individuals seeking a strategic approach to their cannabis journey. Even as the conversation expands to recreational use, the medical marijuana program retains its relevance. The blog encourages individuals exploring the recreational realm to consider the benefits of obtaining a medical card, ensuring legal compliance and access to a broader range of products tailored to their health needs.


Summary

Missouri's commitment to expunging felony marijuana convictions marks a transformative phase in the state's approach to cannabis-related offenses. While challenges persist in meeting expungement deadlines, the collective efforts of court clerks and officials signal progress. Individuals with past convictions play a crucial role in this process, actively checking in on their expungement status and navigating potential communication challenges.


Amidst these legal changes, the relevance of medical marijuana stands strong, providing individuals with a regulated and therapeutic avenue for cannabis use. Obtaining a medical marijuana card remains a judicious choice, ensuring legal access to tailored treatments and expert guidance. As Missouri navigates the intersection of expungement efforts and marijuana legalization, individuals are encouraged to embrace the transformative potential of a fresh start and explore the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana.


Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri Today!

Although marijuana is now legal recreationally in Missouri, you should still get your medical card. If you have any questions, just give us a call!


There are so many benefits to having your medical marijuana card in a recreational state, including being responsible for less in taxes, saving at dispensaries, and higher possession laws.


If you don’t already have your medical marijuana card, we can help! Our doctors are standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. During your evaluation, they will be happy to answer all your questions about how cannabis may be able to help with your anxiety or any other medical conditions.


(877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.


 

Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.


At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.


Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting the relief you can trust today!


Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.

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