Clearing Criminal Records for Cannabis Offenses

4/21/2020

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Cannabis, also known as marijuana or marihuana, has been legalized for recreational use in 11 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, 16 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. In 33 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, medical cannabis programs are available. Despite the recent trend of states and territories legalizing cannabis in some form or another, there remains a large population of individuals who have a criminal record for cannabis possession.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), over 7 million people were busted for having pot from 2001 to 2010. Considering recreational marijuana was first legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012, these arrests translated into criminal convictions for the majority of individuals. Criminal convictions often carry collateral consequences, such as restrictions on professional licensing, government benefits and more. As legalization of cannabis progressed through the states, so too did the practice of clearing the criminal records of those affected by prior cannabis convictions.

Most recently, Illinois legalized marijuana with its “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act”. The act, alongside legalizing recreational use of cannabis, provided for record clearing of “minor cannabis offenses.”  However, Illinois is far from alone when it comes to clearing cannabis records. Forty-one states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands all have record-clearing laws that may apply to prior cannabis convictions. Seven states' record-clearing laws specifically address cannabis offenses, while the remaining states' and territories' record-clearing laws are broad enough to cover cannabis offenses. While there is a Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act (the "Uniform Act"), which may provide some collateral consequence relief to certain individuals with cannabis convictions, Vermont is the only state to enact it. New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Massachusetts have all introduced the Uniform Act during their 2020 legislative sessions. The Uniform Act, however, is not the only route for states that want to provide collateral consequence relief to individuals with prior cannabis convictions.

Below is an interactive map containing information for each state regarding cannabis record clearing. This resource covers both cannabis specific record clearing and general record clearing that may cover cannabis possession convictions. Click on a state for more information.

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States with Cannabis Record Clearing AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI

Green states have cannabis record clearing laws.

Click on a state to learn more about their record clearing laws and cannabis legalization status for recreational and medical use.

Alabama

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: Ala. Code 1975 § 15-27-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Alaska

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: AS § 12.62.005 et seq.; AS § 22.35.010 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: SB 8

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Arizona

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: A.R.S. § 13-901 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: HB 2178

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Arkansas

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: A.C.A. § 16-90-1401 et seq.

Proposed Ballot Initiative: Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Act

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

California

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11357 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Colorado

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: C.R.S.A. § 24-72-701 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Connecticut

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: C.G.S.A. § 54-142a et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Delaware

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: 11 Del.C. § 4371 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

District of Columbia

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: DC ST § 16-801 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes; No Sales

Medical Use: Yes

Florida

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: West's F.S.A. § 943.01 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: SB 1342

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Georgia

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: Ga. Code Ann., § 35-3-30 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Hawaii

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: HRS § 706-620 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Idaho

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: I.C. § 67-3001 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Illinois

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: 20 ILCS 2630/0.01 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Indiana

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: IC 35-38-9-0.5 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Iowa

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: I.C.A. § 901C.1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Kansas

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: K.S.A. 20-6601 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Kentucky

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: KRS § 431.005 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Louisiana

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: LSA-C.Cr.P. Art. 971 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Maine

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: 15 M.R.S.A. § 3301 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: SP 649; LD 1897

Recreational Use: Y

Medical Use: Y

Maryland

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: MD Code, Criminal Procedure, § 10-101 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Massachusetts

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: M.G.L.A. 276 § 1 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Michigan

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: M.C.L.A. Ch. 780 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: SB 416; HB 5030; HB 5120; HB 5029

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Minnesota

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: M.S.A. § 609A.01 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Mississippi

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Decriminalized

Missouri

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: V.A.M.S. 610.100 et seq.

Proposed Legislation: HB 1385; HB 2060

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Montana

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: MCA 46-18-1101 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Nebraska

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: Neb.Rev.St. § 29-2223 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Decriminalized

Nevada

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: N.R.S. 179.2405 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

New Hampshire

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 651:1 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

New Jersey

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

New Mexico

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: HB 370 (not yet codified)

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

New York

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: McKinney's CPL § 160.10 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

North Carolina

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: N.C.G.S.A. § 15A-145 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Decriminalized

North Dakota

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: NDCC, 19-03.1-01 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Ohio

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: R.C. § 2953.01 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Oklahoma

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: 22 Okl.St.Ann. § 1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Oregon

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: Yes

Citation: O.R.S. § Ch. 459, § 2 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Pennsylvania

Cannabis Record Clearing: Y

Cannabis Specific: N

Citation: 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9121 et seq.

Recreational Use: N

Medical Use: Y

Rhode Island

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: Gen.Laws 1956, § 12-1.3-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

South Carolina

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Note: Only for 1st time drug possession

Citation: Code 1976 § 22-5-910 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

South Dakota

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: SDCL § 23A-3-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Tennessee

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: T.C.A. § 40-32-101 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Texas

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: V.T.C.A., Government Code § 411.071 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Utah

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: U.C.A. 1953 § 77-40-101 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Vermont

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: 13 V.S.A. § 7601 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Virginia

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: VA Code Ann. § 19.2-392.1 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Decriminalized

West Virginia

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: W. Va. Code, § 61-11-1 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes

Washington

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: West's RCWA 9.96.010 et seq.

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Wisconsin

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: W.S.A. 973.01 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

Wyoming

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: W.S. 1977 § 7-13-1501 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: No

American Samoa

Information unavailable at this time

Virgin Islands

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: 5 V.I.C. § 3731 et seq.

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Guam

Cannabis Record Clearing: No

Citation: 8 G.C.A. § 11.10

Recreational Use: Decriminalized

Medical Use: Yes

Mariana Islands

Cannabis Record Clearing: Information unavailable at this time

Recreational Use: Yes

Medical Use: Yes

Puerto Rico

Cannabis Record Clearing: Yes

Cannabis Specific: No

Citation: 34 L.P.R.A. § 1725 et seq.

Recreational Use: No

Medical Use: Yes