The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday introduced two laws aimed at providing relief to individuals convicted of marijuana on the record.
Reported by NORML The Democratic-led committee said it “voted bipartisanly to advance the Clean Slate and Fresh Start Acts.”
blank slate method “Establish a Framework for Closing Records Related to Certain Federal Criminal Offenses” According to the bill outline, On the other hand, it does not automatically seal records related to “(1) simple possession of a controlled substance or conviction of a nonviolent crime involving marijuana, or (2) arrest for a non-conviction offense.” requesting the court.
It also states that “individuals meeting certain criteria may petition to have records related to convictions of other nonviolent crimes sealed.”
fresh start methodOn the other hand, it allows “the Department of Justice to award grants for states to implement automatic expiry laws (i.e., laws providing for the automatic expungement or sealing of an individual’s criminal records).”
According to NORML, The grant represents “tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to help states expedite the automatic expungement of marijuana violation convictions, among other crimes.”
The move received support from both Democrats and Republicans on the committee, highlighting growing bipartisan support for cannabis reform in the United States.
Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania co-sponsored the Clean Slate Act with fellow Democrat Rep. Lisa Brandt Rochester of Delaware.
“This law needs to be passed so that these individuals have the opportunity to fully participate in the economy and reduce their recidivism rates,” Reschenthaler said. told Pittsburgh public radio station WESA earlier this month..
Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, a colleague of Reschenthaler on the Judiciary Committee, applauded the committee’s approval of the Fresh Start Act.
“Even those who commit nonviolent crimes can face life in prison because the stigma of a conviction is permanent and can haunt you for the rest of your life. Housing, education – what it takes to get a “fresh start” – can all be denied on the basis of past beliefs. and weighs disproportionately on people of color. ” Cohen said in a statement Wednesday.
“Allowing those who have erred and paid their debts to society to clean the slate is essential if we want a fairer criminal justice system,” Cohen said. Added.
The two bills are strongly backed by cannabis reform groups such as normalits political director Morgan Fox said, “The need for this kind of legislative support is all the more pressing given the racially and economically disparate nature of enforcement over the past half century.”
“Beyond the actual penalties imposed under the law, a simple marijuana possession conviction can have many lifelong collateral consequences. It’s equivalent and can negatively affect our ability to function and thrive in society,” Fox said. statement“Most Americans want marijuana prohibition to end, and now, when the majority of people live in states where cannabis is legal, they continue to punish adults and, in many cases, It makes no sense to deprive them of the opportunity to realize their potential for action.It is no longer a crime.”
“Members of the House of Representatives have demonstrated their commitment to advancing cannabis reform this term.” Added Fox. “They have repeatedly affirmed that it is time to start repairing the harm caused by prohibition and enact modern, sensible cannabis policies supported by the overwhelming majority of voters. , there is an opportunity to follow suit by passing substantive laws that change people’s lives for the better and facilitate immense opportunities, especially in marginalized and unjustly targeted communities. , the time to take action will soon run out.”