- Hammond Lewis
Legislators Consider Bill That Would Expunge Marijuana Offenses
Louisiana has a long list of bills to be considered this legislative session, many of which concern medical marijuana patients and the medical marijuana program.
Currently, the only legal way to obtain cannabis in Louisiana is to register for a medical marijuana card, and recreational cannabis is prohibited entirely.
One bill on Louisiana’s legislative plate aims to provide record expungement for minor marijuana offenses, which would remove the infraction from public view.
HB774 from Representative Cedric Glover looks to provide a way for people who have been unjustly persecuted for minor marijuana offenses to get their records expunged, and in some cases without any fees.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about House Bill 774 and marijuana record expungement in Louisiana!
HB774 Aims to Expunge Marijuana Related Offenses from Public Record
HB774 Provides Record Expungement for Minor Marijuana Offenses
House Bill 774 is a small bill that looks to address some of the problems with marijuana charges.
The bill simply allows people who have been convicted of misdemeanor charges involving the possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols, or chemical derivatives to have their records expunged.
Currently, to get record expungement on a misdemeanor marijuana offense, a person would need to complete their sentencing, including probation, and then serve a waiting period before processing a request for record expungement.
Alongside the fees for processing a request, there is also 5-year waiting period after sentencing has been settled to begin the expungement process, which means it could take closer to a decade to complete sentencing and serve the waiting period before you could even submit an expungement request.
HB774 looks to change that by waiving the 5-year waiting period for misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and the fees associated with the expungement process, making the route much easier for people who otherwise couldn’t afford the hefty court fines or processing fees.
What Record Expungement Means for Marijuana Convictions
HB774 aims to allow record expungement for misdemeanor charges relative to marijuana possession. Felonies, distribution, or any other charges other than misdemeanor marijuana possession aren’t mentioned by the bill, which potentially leaves things like paraphernalia charges or distribution off the table.
Without HB774, in order to get your records purged from public view, you’d need to wait until at least 5 years after you completed your sentencing and pay the fees associated with processing an expungement request.
This process represents an aging legal trap that inhibits people who can’t afford to pay fines, and quite frankly, it’s somewhat unreasonable to make people jump through even more hoops after they’ve already completed their sentencing.
Marijuana related offenses may be becoming less relevant in the 21st century, though the additional fines and waiting period to currently get your records expunged seem a bit over the top.
Is Record Expungement for Possession Enough in Louisiana?
The Challenges of Expunging Only Marijuana Possession
Obviously, the best answer to avoiding the steep legal fees surrounding any cannabis related offense is to legalize recreational marijuana, which Louisiana might be leaning in to.
And although HB774 aims to solve the expungement problem, it does so only for possession, not any of the additional charges that are notoriously stacked to create harsher sentences, such as intent to distribute or paraphernalia.
The heart of HB774 is simple and easy to digest, which should make it favorable among legislators who are on the fence or looking for partisanship. HB774 is an easy yes, and aside from the reduced capital from waiving the associated fees, only creates the burden of processing expungement requests on the State.
Why Record Expungement is Important for Marijuana Related Offenses
Record expungement matters when potential employers who would otherwise hire you might look twice when seeing a criminal charge on your record, regardless of the reasons surrounding the charge.
Especially for marijuana related convictions, which are overwhelmingly non-violent minor offenses, record expungement could be the difference between landing a job and remaining unemployable for some people.
HB774 moves the needle a little bit forward in Louisiana, and although it’s not a comprehensive rewrite of how the State handles marijuana, it’s not meant to be. As a compact and straightforward bill, HB774 simply allows the State to get on the right side of history by recognizing minor marijuana convictions for what they are: unnecessary.
Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification
The only way to obtain cannabis legally in Louisiana is by becoming a medical marijuana patient. Patients who are registered for medical marijuana certifications have the legal right to purchase and possess medical marijuana, and a medical marijuana card is the only way to ensure those rights.
You can become a medical marijuana patient today by consulting with one of our qualified doctors!
Getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana is easier than ever, beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today, and you can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.
For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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