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Minnesota’s New Laws Have Led To 57,000 Expunged Marijuana Convictions

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

May 14, 2024 12:40 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 2 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Minnesota’s New Laws Have Led To 57,000 Expunged Marijuana Convictions

On August 1, 2023, Minnesota officially became the 23rd state in the country to legalize recreational (adult-use) cannabis for adults. It’s now legal to possess, use, or grow cannabis in your home within the state. This was exciting news for Minnesota residents, but it came with another boost for tens of thousands of people: the expungement of prior cannabis convictions from criminal records.

Since legalization passed, state officials have expunged 57,780 marijuana convictions through record sealing. In a rare move for government action, the process was completed several months ahead of schedule. As a result, Minnesotans with convictions should see the effects on their records right away. Only 213 records did not meet the requirements for expungement.

The first step was sealing records in Minnesota’s Criminal History System. Now that that is complete, the expunged cases will be passed on to local law enforcement for removal from those systems.

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Around 66,000 records met the requirements for automatic expungement under Minnesota’s new cannabis laws, but even more–an astonishing 230,000–felony records are also up for review by the Cannabis Expungement Board. However, these must be reviewed on an individual basis, so this could take a few years to complete.

Cannabis Expungements Board Executive Director James Rowader said of the process: “The Cannabis Expungement Board is tasked with the thoughtful and careful review of cannabis-related felonies and we are quickly moving forward to build a team to accomplish the work. It is very encouraging to see that misdemeanor cannabis criminal records are moving toward expungement now. These actions together will have a lasting and significant equity impact on communities throughout the state of Minnesota.”

Cannabis convictions will also be reviewed again next year to ensure that any cases currently open within the court system are taken care of in a timely matter. Future non-violent, non-felony cannabis crimes will be automatically expunged from criminal records through the recently passed Clean Slate Act starting in January 2025.

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