Rhode Island to consider fast-tracking marijuana expungement process

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — After President Joe Biden pardoned thousands convicted of federal marijuana charges Thursday, Rhode Island may consider fast tracking their expungement process.

Gov. Dan McKee’s office sent a statement to ABC 6 News, saying, “The President’s announcement is a crucial step forward for fairness and justice in our nation and Governor McKee applauds this action. As this news was just announced, the Governor and his team are currently reviewing how to most efficiently and effectively address this request here in Rhode Island.”

This past May, McKee signed the Recreational Cannabis Bill, ensuring automatic expungement of simple marijuana charges for all Rhode Islanders by July of 2024.

However, Rhode Islanders can act now to wipe their record clean of these charges.

“If you have a criminal record or possession or a cannabis crime, you can go and apply with no fees, no cost to you, and have that record expunged right now,” said Rep. Scott Slater, a sponsor for the bill.

Slater said superior courts and the attorney general’s office have already begun the expungement process. You can apply directly to either to have your charges expunged before the July 2023 deadline.

Slater concluded, “I think it’s a great day not only federally for decriminalizing cannabis, but statewide. I’m happy I worked with Senator Miller to get this done.”

The bill also ensured the recreational sale of marijuana by this December.

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