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Rhode Island Courts Expunge More Than 23,000 Marijuana Possession Records As Part Of Legalization Law’s Mandate For Relief

The Rhode Island judiciary system has expunged more than 23,000 marijuana possession records, completing the first phase of cannabis relief directed under the state’s legalization law and an executive order from the state Supreme Court.

The judiciary said in a press release on Thursday that “3,015 individual cases were expunged in the Superior Court, 10,650 in the District Court, and 9,952 cases in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.”

Courts and law enforcement worked together to provide the automated relief, which follows the state enacting adult-use legalization last year. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell then issued an executive order in January establishing procedure for mass expungements.

“The automatic expungement of marijuana charges has been an organizational feat,” State Court Administrator Julie Hamil said in the new announcement. “There has been coordination at every level of the Judiciary to execute this process in a timely and holistic fashion.”

Phase two of the expungement process will involve clearing cannabis possession records for cases involving multiple criminal violations, and that’s currently in the planning process. Officials must complete that phase by July 1, 2024.

“The RI Judiciary has executed the auto-expungement of marijuana charges in a near seamless manner and so many

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