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Courts are on deadline to purge nonviolent cannabis cases under Amendment 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amendment 3 did more than legalize cannabis use by adults. It also paved the way for people to get their nonviolent cannabis cases cleared.

Expulsions should happen automatically for people not incarcerated or on probation or parole.

Under Amendment 3, courts have until December 2023 to eliminate misdemeanor cases and until June 2023 to eliminate misdemeanors.

Those still in prison must petition a judge to have their cases dismissed.

The Missouri state Supreme Court reports as of Jan. 20, the courts have automatically expunged 3,631 cases thus far, and that number is even higher now. That doesn’t mean over 3,600 people, just cases, with the vast majority being petty crimes.

As for petitions, the state says about 16 petitions have been filed in 13 counties as of January 20. Even that number is higher by now.

This takes some work in the circuit courts. The Jackson County Circuit Court said it first prioritized the 42 cases of felonies and misdemeanors of people on probation and parole when the amendment passed.

Now they’re focusing on petty crimes.

They went back to 1990 and found 2,015 misdemeanor drug cases. They filtered those out and isolated 414 cannabis-specific cases, which a judge will look into.

Jackson County said they are pooling their resources to make sure they finish it in time.

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