Inside The Bill To Expunge Some Of The Federal Marijuana Crimes
Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon House Representative, introduced a new bill to Congress in July. This legal document sought to clear and expunge certain federal marijuana offenses that are no longer deemed illegal in some states in the U.S. Some marijuana activists, however, remain skeptical of how such a bill can help.The bill, known as Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015, is intended to clear the criminal records of all those who have been federally charged with marijuana activity that was state-level at that time. The bill also calls for clearing all those charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Blumenauer has been an active supporter of the cannabis legalization movement. He terms the bill as a significant victory for all those who support cannabis. Blumenauer supports the legalization of marijuana at a federal level and wants to put a stop to all state-federal conflicts when it comes to such legalization. He argues that the law should also extend to expunge all those who have been previously charged under drug possession laws, as the legalization should have a retrospective application.
Since 2012, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado have legalized the use of cannabis for adults and approved a heavily-regulated system to monitor the sale and taxing of the plant. Since then, twenty other states have also decriminalized personal possession of marijuana in small amounts. A total of 693,482 people were arrested in 2013 for marijuana law violations. Of these, 609,423 were held by the Drug Policy Alliance, an anti-drug organization.
Blumenauer’s bill does not mean that over 600,000 people arrested in 2013 can apply for a clean slate. Mason Tvert, the Communications Director for Marijuana Policy Project asserts that most of the possession-related arrests are done at the state level, and not the federal level. Tvert called the bill as well-intentioned and said that his organization supports the ruling.
However, the organization also opined that the bill is unlikely to accomplish as much as people are expecting it to. This is because there is a huge population of people who have been charged with drug possession. It will be a challenging task to expunge all their records. Similarly, people are not usually charged with marijuana possession at federal level if they possess less than an ounce.
Tvert also remarked he and his organization will support any law that requires federal and state government to expunge and clear the records of all minor cannabis offenders in the past. The ruling will only be effective when the lawmakers stop arresting people and charging them with drug offense every now and then.
Prior to this bill, many of the Coloradans had been skeptical of Governor John Hickenlooper and his tenure. Analysts remarked that the governor’s inability to show mercy for all marijuana POWs (most of them belonging to the poor Asian and African-American communities) leaves a stain on his entire term, which otherwise comprises of a strong political leadership.
Whether the bill is likely to be implemented across the entire nation or remain under debate till the next election remains a question. But one thing is certain: the ruling is likely to affect Californian legislation once implemented. To learn more on cannabis legalization rulings in the Golden State, please contact Premier Federal Criminal Defenders today!