HARRISBURG – May 7, 2018 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today introduced legislation providing for the expungement of a conviction of simple possession if the person convicted of the crime can show that the conviction stemmed from his or her personal use of marijuana for medical purposes.
“People who have used marijuana for medical purposes do not deserve to have a criminal record,” Leach said. “I’ve met countless Pennsylvanians who have told me that marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain. It is cruel to punish people simply because they were using medicine to try to make themselves feel better for a condition that the legislature has now approved the use of medical marijuana for. This will give people the opportunity to go to court and prove that they do not deserve to have a criminal record.”
To have their conviction erased, the petitioner would have to show that they had a diagnosis, written by a doctor, for one of the 17 approved conditions at the time of their conviction. They would also have the burden of proving they were using marijuana at the time for the sole purpose of treating the medical condition they were diagnosed with.
Leach’s bill, Senate Bill 1160, is the first bill introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature to allow someone to have their marijuana conviction removed if they can prove they were using it for medical purposes.
Leach explained his proposal in a video he recorded on April 5 after circulating the new bill’s co-sponsorship memo with his Senate colleagues.
Senate Bill 3, Leach’s bill to legalize medical marijuana, was signed into law as Act 16 in 2016. That bill legalized medical marijuana for 17 specified conditions. The first Pennsylvanian legally purchased medical marijuana from a dispensary in February 2018.
Senator Daylin Leach represents the 17th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery County and Delaware County. He is also the Democratic Chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee. For more information visit www.senatorleach.com/newsroom.