KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just a few weeks after Missouri counties could start expunging marijuana cases, the marijuana advocacy group NORML says more than 3,500 Missourians have already had their past cases wiped from their records in roughly 25 counties.
“These days it’s so easy to access someone’s criminal history online so removing this from the public access is especially important for people looking for jobs, trying to get a loan to buy a car or a house,” said NORML Missouri State Coordinator Dan Viets.
Counties have until June to expunge misdemeanor offenses and until December for felony cases. People who are still in prison or on parole for marijuana charges have to petition the state for their relief.
That process has already resulted in one Missouri prisoner being released Friday.
Adam Mace was released from prison Friday after his expungement was granted early Thursday. He has been in prison for 14 years and his expungement case is relatively complicated.
The first 11 years behind bars was for a fatal DUI Mace caused. The last three years have been only for a marijuana possession conviction, making him eligible for expungement and to be released from prison.
He hopes to get a job as a welder, after getting certified while in prison. Since his release came relatively suddenly, Mace says he took the final tests to become certified early Friday morning.
“They got me in [welding classes] about two to three months ago and luckily I had a great welding teacher,” Mace said. “He helped me a lot and one of the guys was a millwright, so he helped me a lot.”
Viet says NORML plans to work with counties struggling to get through the case files as the expungement deadlines get closer. He says if counties aren’t working in good faith, NORML is prepared to take them to court to follow the recently passed connotational amendment.