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Clear your Minnesota marijuana arrest record

Cannabis expungement in Minnesota is transforming lives. A record from a minor cannabis offense, particularly if it includes an arrest, could haunt you for years, limiting your job prospects. Now, under the new Adult-Use Cannabis Act, your record is automatically sealed. This legislative change not only impacts on you but also to thousands of Minnesotans, paving the way for fresh starts, free from past cannabis-related convictions.

Automatic Expungement Process

Automatic expungement provides a streamlined way to clear cannabis-related records without the need for court petitions.

Eligible records for automatic expungement, including misdemeanor offenses, are identified by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and sealed from public view in the Criminal History System (CHS). This ensures individuals do not face barriers due to past cannabis offenses that qualify for expungement.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has automatically expunged nearly 58,000 records from the state’s Criminal History System after the legalization of recreational marijuana under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act. These records are now hidden from public view, potentially aiding those seeking jobs, housing, or education. The BCA will share the expunged records list with local criminal justice agencies for system updates. Individuals can still request copies of their own records, even after expungement.

Terms like “expungement” and “sealing” are used interchangeably to describe this legal process.

Qualifying Records & Timeline

Cannabis-related records get expunged—sealed—from Minnesota’s Criminal History System under specific conditions.

Expunging nearly 58,000 records ahead of schedule signifies Minnesota’s commitment to reform.

Records are reviewed for automatic expungement, and qualifying ones are made non-visible instantly, as was done in May 2024.

Felony-level records undergo a detailed review by the Cannabis Expungement Board and might take several years for a final decision.

System Updates & Notifications

Since the Adult-Use Cannabis Act became law, the BCA has enacted essential system updates.

In August 2023, significant coding changes were completed in the Criminal History System (CHS). These updates ensure that cannabis-related records qualifying for expungement are correctly sealed from public view.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch and local criminal justice agencies have been notified about these expunged records. This move ensures that related records in their systems can also be expunged promptly, maintaining consistency across all databases.

In 2025, the BCA will conduct another review to expunge records still in the court process when the 2024 expungements happened. This will guarantee that no eligible records remain visible unnecessarily.

Individuals can request their records from the BCA at any time, even after expungement. 

Role of the Cannabis Expungement Board

The Cannabis Expungement Board plays a crucial role in determining the fate of cannabis-related felony records. Each record undergoes an individualized review to decide if expungement or resentencing is warranted under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act.

This board operates independently from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It ensures that decisions are made thoughtfully and carefully, considering each case’s unique circumstances. Their work is expected to significantly impact equity in Minnesota communities by alleviating the long-term consequences of certain cannabis offenses.

Review of Felony Records

The Cannabis Expungement Board is responsible for reviewing cannabis-related felony records. Each record is evaluated individually.

The process for reviewing felony records is meticulous, ensuring each case is thoroughly considered. This assessment aims to determine whether expungement or resentencing is suitable, based on criteria outlined in the Adult-Use Cannabis Act. This process may take several years due to the depth of review required.

Individuals with eligible felony records will potentially see significant relief. The careful examination ensures each decision aligns with legal standards while providing potential opportunities for individuals affected by past cannabis convictions.

It is advisable for those with cannabis-related felonies to stay informed about their case’s status. Regular updates from the Cannabis Expungement Board will be available, and impacted individuals may consult legal professionals to better understand how these reviews may affect their specific circumstances.

Board Formation & Progress

The Cannabis Expungement Board began forming shortly after the Adult-Use Cannabis Act became law.

In 2023, Minnesota officials identified the need for a board to review felony cannabis records. This led to the creation of the Cannabis Expungement Board, tasked with evaluating cases individually.

The board consists of legal experts, community leaders, and policy advisors. Their mission is to ensure each case is reviewed fairly and in accordance with state law, providing a thorough evaluation.

As the board progresses, they are committed to transparency and efficiency. Updates on their work will be regularly posted, ensuring that the public remains informed about the expungement process and any new developments.

This diligent review process aims to help many affected by past cannabis offenses find new opportunities.

Impact on Individuals and Communities

The expungement of cannabis-related criminal records under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act has already positively impacted many individuals by removing barriers to employment, housing, and other economic opportunities. This significant change reduces stigma, allowing people to fully reintegrate into society and contribute to community growth.

Local communities benefit from these expungements as well, seeing broader social equity and bolstered economic participation, which strengthens community ties.

Equity and Social Justice

Expunging cannabis-related offenses serves as a crucial step toward equity and social justice in Minnesota.

By removing the barriers associated with past cannabis convictions, the state acknowledges and addresses the disproportionate impact these offenses have had on marginalized communities. The Adult-Use Cannabis Act ensures that individuals previously hampered by these records can now access opportunities uninhibited by their past. This shift is vital for promoting social equity and fairness.

Moreover, these actions help to bridge the gaps in our justice system. Expungement clears the path for affected individuals to rebuild their lives, removing the enduring penalties of prior convictions and fostering a more egalitarian society.

By prioritizing equity and social justice through progressive expungement measures, Minnesota is setting an important precedent. It demonstrates that change is possible, and that systemic inequalities can be addressed, empowering communities and promoting long-term positive societal impacts.

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Access to Expunged Records

Individuals with expunged records have unique needs, especially when it comes to accessing those records for various purposes.

Although expunged records are not publicly visible, they aren’t entirely erased.

For personal needs, people can request copies of their own expunged records directly from the BCA.

Court orders are necessary for others to access these expunged records, ensuring privacy.

It’s important to note that for immigration benefits, keeping a copy of your expunged record might be crucial.

Always consult with an immigration attorney if expunged records are needed for legal processes.

Future Steps and Considerations

Looking ahead, the BCA plans to review records in 2025 to identify any additional cases eligible for expungement. This ensures that ongoing cases are addressed and that the expungement process is thoroughly completed.

For those seeking to manage their own records, it’s advisable to stay informed via the BCA’s Expungements page. Anyone with potential immigration concerns should reach out to an attorney to discuss how expungements might impact their status. By staying proactive, individuals can better navigate the legal landscape and protect their rights.

Clean Slate Act Implementation

The Clean Slate Act aims to streamline the expungement process across Minnesota.

Starting January 1, 2025, certain criminal records will be automatically expunged without needing a court order.

This will help many individuals move on from their past, as the records will no longer be visible to the public.

By automating this process, Minnesota will remove barriers that previously required legal petitions, benefiting communities and easing the burden on the judicial system.

Stay tuned for updates as the deadline approaches and more records are cleared.

Inter-state Visibility & Immigration Concerns

Expunged records may still be visible.

Minnesota participates in the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact. This means your expunged records in Minnesota could be visible in other states, unless you file a petition and the court orders them sealed from view. Therefore, expungement in one state does not guarantee full erasure of your record nationwide.

Consult an attorney for thorough guidance.

For immigration-related concerns – such as how expunged records might impact your eligibility for visas – it is crucial to seek specialized legal advice. Immigration agencies may still request and review these records, affecting your status.

The Compact affects interstate visibility, but each state has different rules on record expungement. Non-citizens with expunged records should particularly be cautious and seek legal consultation to understand the ramifications fully.

Understanding your expungement rights and their limitations will help you navigate both state and federal regulations.

About the Author

Tom Howard, a Cannabis Industry Lawyer and Consultant has practiced commercial law since 2008 when he graduated from law school and got his Series 7 & 66 Securities licenses. He pivoted to practicing litigation for financial institutions before helping cannabis teams form, capitalize, and get licensed. He has concentrated in the cannabis business since Illinois legalized in 2019. He won licenses for clients in Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Missouri and has gotten into lotteries in Ohio, Maryland, and Maine. He became a Certified Ganjier in 2021. He chairs the ISBA’s section council for Cannabis Law in 2023.

 

Picture of Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.
Homegrown Cannabis Co's Cannabis Seedshomegrown
Picture of Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.

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