Jay Nixon, the Governor of Missouri, quietly became a marijuana hero this week by signing into law Senate Bill 558, all while looking like a dad who will never be proud of you. The law will allow the records of almost every marijuana-related conviction in the Missouri state and municipal courts to be expunged from public records.
The bill was not brought forth by any marijuana advocacy group, but rather, the Missouri Bar Association and Republican Senator Bob Dixon. Aiming to expand the list of offenses that qualify for expungement, the bill now allows hundred of non-violent, non-sexual crimes to be waived from public record. Defendants convicted of a felony offense are required to wait seven years after completion of their sentence or probation or parole, and those convicted of a misdemeanor must wait three years.
This is a big step forward in reducing the stigma attached to cannabis use. No longer are people in Missouri disqualified from getting a job, a car, or a home because of a non-violent marijuana offense. While also being a large signal to the public that the Missouri government knows the measure coming to ballot this November to legalize medical marijuana has momentum.
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