Louisiana lawmakers to consider marijuana expungement bill

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Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 12:52 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) — A Louisiana bill would allow for an expungement of charges for certain amounts of marijuana, if passed.

House Bill 774 is proposed by state Rep. and former Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover.

Attorney Felicia Hamilton said it’s important to note that an expungement does not mean the records are destroyed but rather, removed from public viewing.

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a person may file a motion to expunge his record of arrest and conviction of a misdemeanor offense involving the possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol [THC], or chemical derivatives thereof pursuant to R.S. 40:966(C)(2)(a) from the date of conviction,” the proposal states.

“The fees that are generally associated with getting an expungement, some of those are eliminated,” explained Hamilton. “A misdemeanor expungement - just the court costs alone - could cost $550.”

The bill further reads, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving the possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or chemical derivatives thereof pursuant to R.S. 7 40:966(C)(2)(a) shall be exempt from the payment of the processing fees otherwise authorized by this Article.”

In short, if the bill passes, those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession can potentially have their record expunged and the fees waived.

Hamilton also pointed out that the “legislation would allow the motion to expunge to be filed upon the conviction date versus the necessity of an Article 894 or the five-year waiting period for misdemeanors.”

That means people would not have to wait to get an expungement.

In March 2021, the Shreveport City Council passed an ordinance to reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, council members are expected to vote on a proposal to “support House Bill No. 774 filed in the 2022 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature relative to expungements for certain amounts of possession of marijuana, and to otherwise provide with respect thereto.”

On Saturday, April 30, Goodwill Industries will host an expungement and re-entry clinic at its Job Center at 800 W. 70th St. in Shreveport.

“Many of the populations that we serve encounter a number of barriers when it comes to employment, as well as things on their background,” explained Von Jennings, of Goodwill Industries.

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