A Mecklenburg County lawmaker wants to make major changes to North Carolina’s marijuana laws and, if passed, could result in people having past convictions expunged from their record.
Representative Kelly Alexander, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, filed House Bill 994 Wednesday in hopes of increasing the amount of marijuana a person may legally possess for personal use.
Currently, if a person is found with more than a half-ounce of marijuana it can be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the amount of marijuana tops 1.5 ounces, it can be punished as a Class 1 felony.
Alexander’s bill would look to increase those amounts significantly.
If House Bill 994 is passed, a person would not be hit with a misdemeanor until the amount exceeds four ounces of marijuana – eight times the current limit. A felony would not be issued unless a person has more than 16 ounces of marijuana. That is more than ten times the current limit.
The bill and its changes would become effective July 1 and would apply to any offenses committed on or after that date.
The second part of the bill looks to pave a way for people convicted under the existing laws to seek an expungement of their record.
It would allow people convicted of having less than four ounces of marijuana to file a petition with the court for expunction of their criminal record.
House Bill 994 passed a first reading in the House Thursday and was referred to the Judiciary committee. Nine Democratic lawmakers have added their names as co-sponsors of the bill, including representatives Rodney Moore and John Autry from Mecklenburg County.
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