DC City Council Votes Unanimously in Support of Bill to Seal Records of Non-Violent Marijuana Offenders

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Yesterday, the City Council in Washington DC doubled down on their progressive marijuana law reform stance; they unanimously passed a resolution through the first step of their law adoption process yesterday that would seal the criminal records of non-violent cannabis offenders.

The bill, which was introduced last fall by Washington DC Councilmember David Grosso, if adopted as law will seal the criminal records of residents of Washington DC who have misdemeanor or felony cannabis charges on their records, provided the offense was non-violent.

What does that mean? For the thousands of people (an estimated 20,000 in the last decade in Washington DC alone) rendered essentially unemployable and unable to find housing by their marijuana convictions, it could mean hope and a future of something other than grinding poverty. Although expunging the records of non-violent marijuana offenders is ideal, Grosso believes that sealing the records is an important first step; sealing the records is certainly more than many other municipalities are doing for social justice.

The council additionally voted to make changed to the Washington DC medical marijuana permanent, meaning physicians can continue writing recommendations for cannabis for any condition they believe appropriate, not only those on a short, non-comprehensive list.

Congrats to Washington DC, its residents and David Grosso. May the law move foward through the adoption process smoothly and quickly. Hopefully this change will inspire other cities and states to follow suit.

For previous Ladybud articles about marijuana law reform in Washington DC, click here.

Photo Credit: Fondos Archive under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons