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Congressional Bill Would Automatically Seal Non-Violent Cannabis Convictions

A bill introduced to Congress on Tuesday proposes that people convicted of drug possession or nonviolent marijuana crimes would have their records automatically sealed after one year, provided they don’t re-offend.

The text of H.R. 6669 introduced into the 115th session by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware was dubbed the Clean Slate Act, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Twenty other primarily African-American Congressional Representatives from across the country immediately co-sponsored the bipartisan bill, which states that:

“Provided the individual is not a sex offender, if someone has been arrested for a Federal offense, or has been convicted of an offense under section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act or any Federal nonviolent offense involving marijuana; and has fulfilled each requirement of the sentence for the offense, including completing each term and satisfying each condition of imprisonment, probation, or supervised release; the court shall enter an order that each record and portion thereof that relates to the offense shall be sealed automatically on the date that is one year after the covered individual fulfills each requirement of the sentence.”

The exception is if an individual is convicted of a subsequent criminal offense or of an additional offense in conjunction with the drug offense.

For non-convictions, “Sixty days after the date on which a covered individual is acquitted, exonerated, or otherwise subject to a judgment which did not result in  a conviction for a Federal offense, each record or portion thereof that relates to the Federal offense shall be sealed automatically.”

All-encompassing, similarly forgiving initiatives in other countries include New Zealand’s progressive Parliamentary Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act, in 2004.

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