Supermajority of Americans Support Expunging Marijuana-Related Convictions


Seventy percent of respondents favor expunging the criminal records of those with marijuana-related convictions, according to national polling data compiled by YouGov.com.

Pollsters asked: “Do you support or oppose expunging marijuana-related convictions for non-violent offenders?” Seven in ten respondents supported expungement while only 17 percent opposed the process.

Support is bipartisan, with majorities of Democrats (81 percent), Independents (69 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) endorsing the expungement of marijuana convictions. On Friday, members of the US House of Representatives voted by a margin of 228 to 164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which repeals federal marijuana prohibition, expunges federal marijuana-related convictions, and provides inducements for states to facilitate the review and expungement of state-level marijuana records. Only five Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

Commenting on the new poll, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Millions of citizens unduly carry the undue burden and stigmatization of a past conviction for behavior that most Americans no longer believe ought to be a crime, and that in a growing number of states is no longer classify as a crime by statute. Our sense of justice and our principles of fairness demand that officials move swiftly to right the past wrongs of cannabis prohibition and criminalization.”

Over a dozen states have enacted legislation explicitly permitting or facilitating the process of having past marijuana convictions expunged, vacated, otherwise set aside, or sealed from public view.

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