SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The Springfield City Council is considering an ordinance that would allow people to have some municipal marijuana offenses removed from their records if they meet certain criteria.
The council took no action on the proposal Monday but allowed it to advance to a vote at a meeting in two weeks. The city's legal staff has questioned the legality of the proposal, noting that state law doesn't allow the city to expunge convictions but it doesn't ban it, either, The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://sgfnow.co/HHae2N ).
Under the ordinance, the offense could be removed if a person completes community service or probation and goes two years without any felony convictions or other pending charges. The ordinance does not include any age restrictions.
Councilman Craig Hosmer, sponsor of the ordinance, said the only court case that appears to prohibit the removal of charges involved a city expunging state charges, not municipal violations.
"We should have the authority to say if the (municipal) conviction should be expunged," Hosmer said.
Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky said she supported giving younger people a second chance but questioned extending the opportunity to older people. She proposed prohibiting anyone over age 25 from qualifying, but no one seconded the motion.
"If you have someone over 25, they're old enough to know better," Rushefsky said.
Hosmer said age is less important when "you're talking about someone who has no other (convictions) ... Otherwise it's a permanent blemish on their record that is otherwise spotless."