Minnesota Expunges Nearly 58K Records Just Nine Months After Rec Weed Legalization

by | Cannabis Times


Minnesota Legalizes Cannabis for Adults Over 21, Thousands of Records Expunged in Just Nine Months

Minnesota has joined the ranks of states that have legalized cannabis for adults over 21, and in a surprisingly short amount of time, state leaders have already wiped clean the records of thousands of residents with low-level cannabis convictions.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the state’s Adult-Use Cannabis Act has been put into action, and records that qualify for expungement are no longer visible to the public on the Minnesota Criminal History System (CHS).

In a remarkable feat, the state’s Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has expunged 57,780 records, three months ahead of schedule. However, the state’s Judicial Branch has determined that 213 records should not be expunged.

“We are thrilled to have achieved this legislative priority,” exclaimed BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “Minnesotans will see immediate changes to their records, and we will continue to expunge more in the coming months and years.”

The Adult-Use Cannabis Act officially went into effect on August 1, 2023, fully decriminalizing cannabis and allowing for its possession, use, and home cultivation for adults over 21. Along with the right to use, possess, and transport cannabis paraphernalia, the Act also permits adults to have up to two pounds of cannabis in their private residence, up to eight grams of cannabis concentrates, and edible cannabis products with a combined 800 mg of THC or less. They can also grow up to eight cannabis plants, with no more than four mature, as long as they are of age and the plants are kept in an enclosed, locked space hidden from public view.

Since the legislation was passed, the BCA has been working diligently to identify all state records that qualify for automatic expungement. As part of this process, the BCA has made coding changes to the system, allowing eligible records to be sealed from public view.

The next step is for the state to notify local law enforcement agencies so they can begin the process of expunging their own individual records. However, felony-level convictions are still under review. According to the law, most felony-level convictions are eligible for review by the Cannabis Expungements Board. The BCA anticipates that this process will take several years to complete, as each case must be reviewed individually.

“The Cannabis Expungement Board has the important responsibility of carefully reviewing cannabis-related felonies, and we are working quickly to assemble a team to tackle this task,” stated Executive Director James Rowader. “It is encouraging to see that misdemeanor cannabis criminal records are already being expunged. These actions will have a lasting and significant impact on equity in communities throughout Minnesota.”

All records in the CHS now have notices posted, alerting viewers about the potential for future changes as more records are expunged.