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Minnesota Expunges Over 57,000 Cannabis-Related Criminal Records

The state will now begin a years-long review of felony level Adult-Use Cannabis Act-related records.

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Criminal history records that qualify for automatic expungement under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act are no longer visible to the public in the Minnesota Criminal History System (CHS).

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has expunged (also referred to as sealing) 57,780 records in CHS almost three months ahead of schedule. The Minnesota Judicial Branch determined that 213 records should not be expunged.

Since the Adult-Use Cannabis Act became law on Aug. 1, 2023, the BCA has worked to identify all records in the state’s CHS that qualify for automatic expungement. While that work was taking place, the BCA completed extensive coding changes to the system so that qualifying records could be sealed from public view.

“We are pleased to be able to deliver on this legislative priority,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “Minnesotans will see changes to their records immediately and as additional expungements are made in the months and years ahead.”

Next steps in the process

The BCA has notified the Minnesota Judicial Branch that this step is complete. We will soon provide a by-agency list of records expunged in the CHS to local criminal justice agencies, so that they can expunge related records in their own systems.

Additional, mostly felony level Adult-Use Cannabis Act-related records qualify for review by the independent Cannabis Expungement Board, which will consider whether resentencing or expungement are appropriate under the law. Because each record must be considered individually, this process could take several years to complete.

“The Cannabis Expungement Board is tasked with the thoughtful and careful review of cannabis-related felonies and we are quickly moving forward to build a team to accomplish the work,” Cannabis Expungements Board Executive Director James Rowader said. “It is very encouraging to see that misdemeanor cannabis criminal records are moving toward expungement now. These actions together will have a lasting and significant equity impact on communities throughout the state of Minnesota.”

A notice is posted on all records in the CHS notifying those who view the records about the possibility of future changes under the Adult-Use Cannabis Act.

The BCA will review records in the CHS again in 2025 to identify and expunge any additional records that were still in the court process when the 2024 expungements occurred.

In addition, Minnesota is part of the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, which requires that the records remain visible in other states unless a petition is filed and the court orders the record at the BCA be sealed from view in other states.

People can request copies of their own records held in the BCA system at any time, including after records are expunged. Other access to expunged records in the CHS requires a court order.

Clean Slate Act Expungements

Work is already underway at the BCA on expungements required by the Clean Slate Act, under which records that currently require a court order to be expunged will qualify for automatic expungement. The Clean Slate Act goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2025. The BCA anticipates being able to implement Clean Slate-related automatic expungements by the January 2025 deadline.

The BCA will continue to provide updates on its expungement work on the Expungements page on the BCA website.

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