The Nation’s Largest Physicians Professional Association Calls For Automatic Expungement of Arrest And Conviction Records of Cannabis Offenses
The American Medical Association announced that it has approved a resolution calling on states that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis to expunge the records of arrests and convictions for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer illegal. The AMA formally adopted the policy change at the Annual Meeting of its House of Delegates held in Chicago.
In a statement, the AMA wrote that the goal of the policy change is “to introduce equity and fairness into the fast-changing effort to legalize cannabis.” The group notes that at least 18 states have legalized cannabis for use by adults and more than three dozen have passed legislation allowing for the use of medical weed. However, in many states, those who were arrested or convicted of cannabis offenses before legalization measures were enacted still carry the burden associated with a criminal record. Furthermore, the AMA went on to note that even when arrest and conviction records are expunged, affected persons often still face collateral consequences such as disqualification from eligibility for public benefits such as health insurance programs. The new AMA policy also calls for an end to probation, parole, or other court-ordered supervision for cannabis-related offenses that are later decriminalized or legalized. Also the company added that Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana offense, despite data that has consistently shown that Black and White people consume cannabis at roughly equal rates. Despite its support for clearing the records for cannabis convictions in states that have enacted marijuana policy reform, the AMA restated the group’s opposition to further efforts to legalize cannabis.