AN ACT TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA THAT MAY BE LEGALLY POSSESSED FOR PERSONAL USE AND TO ALLOW FOR THE EXPUNCTION OF RECORDS RELATED TO CERTAIN CONVICTIONS FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA.
Amends GS 90-95 such that it is no longer unlawful to possess marijuana for personal use in quantities of four ounces or less. Adjusts the penalties for possession of marijuana accordingly: for possession of over three ounces (previously one half of an ounce) the violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor; for possession of over 16 ounces (previously one and one half ounces) the violation is a Class I felony. Applies to offenses committed on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS Chapter 15A, Article 5, adding new section GS 15A-145.8, which allows for expunction of criminal records for violations for possession of less than three ounces of marijuana. A person convicted of such a violation may file a petition in the court of the county where they were convicted for expunction of the offense from the person's criminal record and any other official record containing an entry relating to the person's apprehension, charge, trial, or conviction. The court must hold a hearing on the petition, on notice to the district attorney, to determine if the violation involved possession of less than four ounces of marijuana. If so, the court must order the expunction from the Administrative Office of the Courts and all law enforcement agencies. Any other applicable State or local government agency must also expunge the violation from their records. The agencies must also reverse any administrative actions taken against a person as a result of the violation when their record is so expunged. The Department of Justice, State DNA Database, and State DNA Databank need not expunge their records. A person filing for expunction under this section must pay a $100 fee at filing, to be deposited into the General Fund. An indigent person need not pay this fee. A person who has obtained such an expunction order cannot be held to be guilty of perjury or giving a false statement for failure to state or acknowledge any of the expunged entries. Effective July 1, 2019.
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