Fact Finders: Will old marijuana convictions be expunged in Missouri?

Missouri voters legalized recreational marijuana in the midterm elections.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 8:48 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The clock is ticking on a provision of Missouri Amendment 3. It must be finished in 6 months. We’re talking about the automatic expungement of misdemeanor records of past arrests and convictions for marijuana offenses. Our viewer Michael wants to know; will really old marijuana (non-violent) felony charges be expunged?

Missouri voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in the midterm elections.

Part of that amendment included the expungement of marijuana-related crimes. The courts have six months to remove thousands of records of misdemeanor marijuana-related offenses. But there are exceptions. If the marijuana offense involved violence, it wouldn’t be expunged. Also, if it involves distribution to minors, it won’t be expunged. Or, if it’s for driving under the influence of marijuana, forget it.

As far as how far back the expungement goes, this shouldn’t be an issue. But it will take time.

“It’s not as simple as flipping a switch for the courts to do this.” explained The Director of Integrated Advocacy for the ACLU, Tony Rothert. “That doesn’t mean that they don’t have to do it. But it’s not easy.”

“The courts prioritize the misdemeanors first, and then the lower level felonies and then the higher level felonies, but it reaches all the way back,” added John Payne with Legal Missouri. “There is no, you know, time limitation on even if it was an offense from 40 years ago, it still should be expunged.”

“Up to three pounds should be automatically expunged, but amounts above that are very likely to be expunged as well, but they will not be automatic,” explained Missouri NORML Attorney Dan Viets. “The defendant should contact an attorney who does criminal defense law in order to pursue an expungement through the courts on larger amount cases.”

Misdemeanor offenses should be wiped clean by next June. Felony marijuana offenses will take up to a year. The courts should notify you. But that notification will go to the last known address. Remember if your crime happened 20 years ago and you’ve moved.

One more note, Viets said people who are in a correctional facility or on parole for marijuana-related offenses are going to have to go through a legal process to get those charges taken off their criminal records.

Circling back to our viewer question: Will really old marijuana (non-violent) felony charges be expunged? Yes. If they’re not expunged in the time frame we mentioned, you can expect the issue will go to the courts.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com