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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

State courts report low demand for expungement of marijuana-related convictions

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Montana courts are reporting low demand for expunging marijuana-related criminal convictions now that the substance is legal for recreational use.

Court Administrator Beth McLaughlin says the judicial branch will likely forgo creating a new court to handle clearing criminal records of now legal actions. The state Legislature had set money aside for that last spring when drawing up marijuana legislation.

McLaughlin says local courts should be able to handle the workload.

Montana voters legalized recreational marijuana in November of 2020, and it’s been legal since then to possess. Legal sales began Jan. 1.

McLaughlin says her office is drafting a self-help form to help defendants through the process.

Shaylee began covering state government and politics for Montana Public Radio in August 2020. Originally from Belgrade, Montana, she graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program and previously worked as a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and UM’s Legislative News Service. Please share tips, questions and concerns by emailing shaylee.ragar@mso.umt.edu. 
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