Minnesota legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2023 when Governor Tim Waltz signed House File 100. In addition to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the bill provides expungement for certain cannabis-related convictions.

 What It Does

House File 100 details the types of convictions and offenses eligible for expungement. It also directs the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to determine which individuals qualify for expungement. House File 100 also notifies the judicial branch concerning the qualified people at this stage. After receiving instructions to begin, the BCA can expunge their records for eligible individuals. Once completed, they must notify law enforcement agencies about the expungements. These agencies must seal the history immediately after notification.

Article 5 states, “The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shall grant expungement relief to each qualifying person whose records the Bureau possesses and seal the Bureau’s records without requiring an application, petition, or motion. The Bureau shall seal records related to an expungement within 60 days after the Bureau sent notice of the expungement to the judicial branch pursuant to subdivision 2, paragraph (b) unless an order of the judicial branch prohibits sealing the records or additional information establishes that the records are not eligible for expungement.”

Analysis and Updates

A preliminary analysis estimated that 66,000 criminal records are eligible for automatic expungement. In addition, 230,000 felony records could qualify for automatic expungement. 

The BCA commented on House File 100’s expungement progress in a recently posted update. According to the Bureau, they were working with the Minnesota Judicial Branch to create a process for automated notifications. The Bureau and Branch have also researched ways to isolate traffic-related and non-parking petty misdemeanors. The BCA ended the statement with reassurances about collecting feedback on the notifications they must provide to law enforcement.

House Rule 100 will begin cannabis-related expungements sometime in mid-2024. In addition, the clean slate expungement process has a deadline of January 2025. Due to these timeframes, the BCA has begun expediting the process. Anyone reviewing the expunged criminal records will find comments about the information. According to the BCA, it will inform the person that the record may no longer contain illegal information in Minnesota.

Interested parties should remember that the expungement process takes time; not even the automatic method is instant. As such, employers may encounter background checks that include records that House File 100 will expunge.

Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.