May 2, 2024

Minnesota officials plan to provide thousands of individuals with expungement relief in the coming months. According to the legislation that passed in 2023, these expungements would cover low-level marijuana convictions.

The Minnesota Legislature passed the Adult-Use Cannabis Act and the Clean Slate Act in 2023. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has worked on this plan since then. According to the Bureau, they have worked on determining which marijuana records qualify for the legislation’s automatic expungement process. 

The Bureau estimated that 66,000 records for misdemeanor cannabis-related convictions would qualify for automatic expungement. Officials estimated the state could carry out these expungements by August, possibly as early as May. Under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act and the Clean Slate Act, the state would regulate the cannabis market and provide relief to those previously convicted for cannabis-related violations. 

Under these Acts, adults may purchase, possess, and home-cultivate marijuana within certain limits. The law also created a system for the automatic review and expungement of certain non-violent marijuana-related violations. These changes may help improve housing and employment opportunities for individuals with these convictions.

Minnesota created a Cannabis Expungement Board to facilitate these changes. The board reviews these records on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for expungement. According to state officials, they have identified over 200,000 felony drug cases that could qualify. Despite this number, not all will be cannabis related.

The Cannabis Expungement Board is still reviewing these cases to determine which are definitively eligible. Under the law, the Board reviews records that do not involve threats, violence, or the use of weapons and disqualifies records that do. Reviewing these cases is expected to be a significant undertaking. As a result, the board intends to employ at least 30 legal professionals dedicated to examining cases to determine eligibility.

Expunging the qualified low-level marijuana convictions would prevent the public from seeing these cases. As such, these records would not appear in background checks for employment or housing. However, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions issued a warning for interested parties. The Bureau explained that they cannot notify consumers about their expunged records.

Consumers with eligible convictions can check the courthouse and inquire about the expungement process. Otherwise, individuals can use a public terminal to search for their cases. Those with qualified records should consider running a self-background check. A self-check allows consumers to review the information that employers, landlords, and others see on their reports. Reviewing these records also enables them to make corrections, especially if expunged information still appears on the report.

Background checks don’t have to be complicated. Try running a self background check today and give yourself a head start.