The District of Columbia Council Members have advanced legislation to expunge tens of thousands of marijuana convictions. This legislation, the Second Chance Amendment Act of 2021 was sent to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser and if signed, will be enacted by early next year.
Council members voted 13 to 0 in favor of this measure. In the upcoming months and years, reviews and expungements will be implemented for those with any citations or convictions of specific marijuana related offenses. This comes as all marijuana offenses in the area have been decriminalized or legalized. All of the expungements are required to be processed by January 1st, 2025.
District voters legalized cannabis back in 2014. In the years after, marijuana related arrests dropped a staggering 99%. Before the legalization of cannabis though, DC had the highest per capita arrest rate for marijuana crimes. Pre-legalization had people being arrested once every two hours.
Since 2018 nationwide, over 100,000 pardons have been issued and 1.7 million expungements have occurred. With the new legislation in DC, we can expect to see this number grow significantly.
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