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Cleveland Mayor Bibb signs motion to expunge thousands of misdemeanor pot convictions

Recreational Marijuana
Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 20:52:08-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb joined Cleveland Chief Prosecutor Aqueelah Jordan and Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin Wednesday afternoon to sign a motion seeking the expungement of more than 4,000 marijuana convictions.

Specifically, the motion seeks the expungement of minor misdemeanor marijuana possession cases involving 200 grams or less that date back to 2017.

"We are seeing progress in Washington on this issue, but it’s slow. There are immediate steps we can take right now in Cleveland to clear the names of over 4,000 residents who deserve a fresh start,” Mayor Bibb stated. “This is just one way we can make progress on criminal justice reform to balance the scales and remove barriers to employment and re-entry,” Bibb said.

The motion to expunge minor misdemeanor possession comes after Cleveland City Council passed legislation in 2020 to lower the penalties for misdemeanor possession cases to no fines or prison time.

The legislation also ensured those convicted would not have a criminal record and would not have to report the charge on employment applications.

“This is the natural progression of what we (at council) wanted to see; first to decriminalize, then to have records expunged,” said Griffin. “Before we passed the legislation, we put together a working group with activists and criminal justice experts."

The prosecutor’s office also identified 455 individuals who were mistakenly charged since the passing of the city council legislation.

“Today, we are moving forward with a motion to expunge all cases of minor misdemeanor marijuana possession to honor the City’s legislation and eliminate criminal consequences,” Jordan said.  

The motion will be considered by Presiding Judge Michelle D. Early as well as the other judges at Cleveland Municipal Court. Once signed by the judges, the expungements will take effect.

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