A momentary indiscretion, like getting caught smoking weed in your youth, shouldn’t alter the course of your life, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested this week, while calling for wiping clean certain non-violent criminal records.
“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 the ability to rent an apartment,” Biden said during a speech this week. “But right now, that criminal record is the weight that holds back too many people of colour, and many whites as well,” Biden added.
Expunging the many records that exist for non-violent weed crimes, however, will take some doing. That being the case, the former vice president proposes that the U.S. federal government kick in some cash to help states get efficient expungement processes rolling.
If elected president, he would ensure states that want “to implement automated systems for the sealing and expungement of certain non-violent criminal records” could receive federal assistance. That funding boost could help streamline processes that are onerous and woefully out of date.
His current plan involves data infrastructure that facilitates “sealing of records in a manner that is precise, complete and efficient — so those records are not used to deny people jobs, housing, voting rights, school loans and other opportunities to rebuild their lives,” according to Marijuana Moment.