14:16 PM

Changes to marijuana law bring questions, considerations surrounding expungements

In November, Missouri voters approved Constitutional Amendment 3, relating to marijuana use and the expungement of cannabis-related criminal records. The amendment took effect Dec. 8, 2022, and, among other matters, authorizes constitutional expungements of select marijuana-related crimes. Per the amendment, courts will be automatically responsible for certain expungements while others may take place by petition.

In a recent program discussion provided by MoBarCLE, panelists offered various perspectives on how Amendment 3 may be interpreted or applied; procedural and scope differences between constitutional expungements and existing statutory expungements; and potential pitfalls to be mindful of when working with expungements.

While the amendment spells out a number of details surrounding constitutional expungements, many questions remain. Determining whether an individual is eligible for a constitutional expungement will depend on a number of factors, including the current status of the individual and the nature of the offense. Panelists advised lawyers to be mindful of their duty of competence and to be fully prepared before seeking to help clients with constitutional expungements. Communication, diligence, and confidentiality are all key ethical matters to consider when approaching any expungement, whether statutory or constitutional.

A rebroadcast of the 2022 Amendment 3's constitutional expungements panel session will be available as a webinar later this month. Lawyers can also access the CLE as a self-study opportunity.