Biden Proposes Fed Aid To Help States Expunge Marijuana Records

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Tuesday that criminal records for marijuana convictions represent a major systemic barrier to economic opportunity that’s had a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

During a speech on racial equity and the economy, the former vice president said that “getting caught for smoking marijuana when you’re young surely shouldn’t deny you, the rest your life, being able to have a good paying job or a career or a loan or an ability to rent an apartment.”

“Right now, that criminal record is the weight that holds back too many people of color, and many whites as well,” he said, adding that the process of getting those records sealed or expunged can be “complicated and costly in the states where the records are kept.”

Biden, who continues to oppose legalizing cannabis, said that more states should “recognize the significant costs to their economy when people with certain non-violent criminal records can’t fully contribute to their full talents and capacity.” However, “even when the states want to give that person a second chance and seal or expunge a certain non-violent criminal record, the record keeping-systems are so outdated, they don’t know how to do it.”

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