Second Missouri Marijuana Expungement Deadline Is Approaching
December 06, 2023
In November 2022, Missouri voters passed Amendment 3. This amendment required the expungement of all nonviolent marijuana-related misdemeanors and felonies. It included two deadlines for processing these deadlines: June 8, 2023, and December 8, 2023.
Before the first deadline established by Amendment 3 passed, it quickly became clear that the state could not meet it. As such, many marijuana-related misdemeanors still exist despite the expungement order. It remains unclear how many cases still await expungement.
Furthermore, the second date set by Amendment 3 is rapidly approaching. This deadline has also proven impossible to achieve, so it will pass without the state fulfilling its obligation to expunge all nonviolent misdemeanor felonies. It is also unclear how many cases will remain once the deadline passes.
The Cause of Delay
The issue causing the state’s inability to meet these deadlines concerns the sheer amount of work required to process these expungements. According to the state, the Circuit Clerks in county courts must process these expungements. However, they must individually examine each record to determine eligibility.
This process includes reviewing Amendment 3’s requirements and sorting through records’ listed offenses. Many cases involve multiple violations, slowing the expungement progress as clerks meticulously compare the conditions and contents. Furthermore, many documents have yet to transfer into digital formats, forcing clerks to search and shift through paperwork.
One clerk described the process and struggles that followed Amendment 3’s inception. They explained how they must work through each record individually, which can take more than an hour per record. After noting the obstacles, the state also attempted to assist the clerks with clearing the expungements. It provided additional funds to pay overtime to circuit clerks working to achieve these deadlines.
Progress So Far
So far, Missouri’s Supreme Court has shown that 97,148 cases have cleared the expungement process. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine how many records remain. Many misdemeanor cases still await expungement months past the deadline. This unknown number has further hampered the chances of expunging felony cases on time. As such, many do not expect the state to clear the remaining nonviolent marijuana-related misdemeanor and felony records before the upcoming deadline.
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