The reports show that at least twenty-five counties in the state have already begun expunging cannabis cases, despite the June 8 deadline.

Missouri is the latest state to announce that more than 3,500 Missourians have had their cannabis cases expunged from all state and county records. The announcement comes soon after Article XIV/“Amendment 3” became effective on December 8, 2022, a voter-approved constitutional amendment permitting adults to possess cannabis for personal use.

According to data from the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA), 3,518 expungements have been granted by Missouri courts as of January 19. Just 2,340 expungements had been given a week earlier, meaning that OSCA recorded an additional 1,178 expungements in only one week.

The reports show that at least twenty-five counties in the state have already begun expunging cannabis cases, despite the June 8 deadline to clear misdemeanor offenses and until December 8 to expunge certain marijuana felonies as outlined in Article XIV.

These counties are taking the initiative even though supplemental funding is not yet available from the Missouri state government, nor the sales taxes on non-medical adult-use cannabis; these counties are abiding by the will of the voters and should be applauded for their preemptive actions.

The expungements are far more efficacious compared to pardons. Pardons amend the public record by adding verbiage which states, “Pardon granted” and the date it was conceded. They do not remove any offenses from the public database.

By contrast, expungements erase all case records from public access, particularly from access by law enforcement and prosecuting lawyers.

The way Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution was written is very encompassing. It says that those who obtain an expungement..will be treated in all regards as if their arrest, convictions, or sentencing offense had never taken place.

The sentence and conviction shall be vacated as legally invalid. The Court shall execute an Order to delete all data and files related to the incarceration, offense, charge, investigation, adjudication of wrongdoing, criminal proceedings, and probation related to the verdict.

Insofar as possible, an expungement leads to the erasure of all records of a marijuana case and restores the defendant to the status they enjoyed before the court filing.

Eventually, all cannabis convictions in Missouri courts will be expunged, including those involving distribution, cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and other felony and misdemeanor offenses, except for convictions involving distribution to a minor, driving under the influence, or violence.