Missouri Courts Work Overtime Clearing Marijuana Charges, Seek Additional $3.7M To Clean Up Backlog

Missouri circuit courts have successfully wiped out over 100,000 marijuana charges from the criminal records of numerous individuals so far under Amendment 3 which legalized recreational cannabis statewide in 2022, reported Missouri Independent.

In return, the state lawmakers approved $4.5 million last year to cover overtime expenses and temporary staff wages to address the extensive load of expungements mandated by law. In May, they approved an additional $2.5 million in a supplemental budget.

According to Beth Riggert, communications counsel of the Missouri Supreme Court, state county courts were granted a total of $4.2 million by the Circuit Court Budget Committee, the regulatory body responsible for the special assistance program.

However, state county courts still have their hands full.

To finish up the marijuana expungements, Betsy AuBuchon, a clerk of the Missouri Supreme Court, submitted a request for an additional $3.7 million in funding for Missouri courts in the next fiscal year.

“We’ve had about 100,000 cases expunged,” AuBuchon said on Wednesday at a House appropriations committee meeting,” but I can’t tell you of that how many more there are to go.”

See also: Controversy And Legal Drama Loom Over Missouri’s Cannabis Market Due To Exorbitant Tax Schemes

Where Does The Money Come From?

Under state law, a chunk of revenue from taxes on recreational marijuana sales and fees paid by cannabis businesses is directed toward the special assistance program under which courts work on clearing the records of those with past cannabis charges.

The deadline for all marijuana-related misdemeanors to be expunged was  June 8 and felonies Dec. 8, 2023.

When State Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern asked about the timeframe for resolving the accumulated backlog, AuBuchon replied that she and her team “are doing our best.”

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