More than 100,000 marijuana cases expunged in first year of legal adult-use
In the first year of legalization, more than 100,000 marijuana cases have been expunged from court records pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2 enacted by Missouri voters in November of 2022. The Constitutional Amendment became effective on December 8, 2022.
“This automatic expungement of marijuana cases is one of the most significant parts of Article XIV. In addition to stopping approximately 20,000 marijuana arrests each year, the law now requires state government to undo much of the damage which was inflicted on hundreds of thousands of Missourians during the past 100 years”, said Dan Viets, J.D., Missouri NORML Coordinator and one of the authors of Article XIV.
Missouri NORML predicted that more than 100,000 marijuana cases might be expunged in the first year under Article XIV. That has turned out to be exactly right. Many more remain to be expunged.
However, marijuana prohibition in Missouri was enacted approximately a century ago. It is going to take more time for 100 years of marijuana cases to be completely expunged.
This is because older case records are not computerized. They have never been placed on any database. It is going to require physical work to locate those cases and records and have them expunged.
It is fortunate that Article XIV provides money for this work to be paid for by the sales tax on adult-use marijuana. Approximately one billion dollars of adult-use sales are projected to take place this year in Missouri. The statewide 6% sales tax on adult-use, non-medical marijuana has provided far more revenue to the state than should be required in order to fund hiring additional staff or paying overtime to existing staff members in the Circuit Clerks’ offices across the state.