Congressional committee set to vote on marijuana bill this week

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The legislation would pave the way for expungement of cannabis-related crimes

A series of marijuana-related reform bills will be considered tomorrow when a key House committee meets. The vote includes consideration of proposals to provide funding for states that implement automatic expungement systems and expunge records of prior federal cannabis convictions. As time goes on, Congress evaluates new measures to reshape criminal justice related to the plant.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler is the current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. This group of lawmakers is holding up the markup about five months after the full House gave the go-ahead to a second marijuana legalization bill, which also brought expungement measures to the table.

Given the high 60-vote threshold and resistance from most Republican lawmakers, there is little chance the Senate will advance such legislation or a separate legalization bill from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Some Democrats also remain skeptical and that may not lead to a positive outcome.

However, recent months have seen an acceleration in bipartisan and bicameral talks on enacting incremental reforms. This creates some expectation that the Senate will introduce a package of modest cannabis bills in the coming weeks that could include other disposal-related proposals. There is no doubt that the fact that the House leadership is working to move forward on the overall issue of expungement measures has given momentum to cannabis-focused conversations.

The effort to be considered tomorrow would provide $35 million in grants from fiscal years 2023 through 2027 to entities that facilitate the automatic sealing of records in accordance with the law. In addition to that, the measure seeks to create penalties for any official who improperly “accesses or discloses information contained in a sealed record.”