CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb filed a motion to expunge 4,077 records of marijuana convictions on Wednesday.
The motion would clear records dating to 2017 for minor misdemeanor marijuana cases of 20 grams or less.
Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance in January 2020 to lower the penalties for misdemeanor pot possession. The move also made it so those convicted would not have a criminal record and would not need to report the charge on job applications.
According to the city, the prosecutor’s office identified 455 people mistakenly charged since the legislation was passed. There were also thousands of other cases eligible for expungement.
“We are seeing progress in Washington on this issue but it’s slow. There are immediate steps we can take right now in Cleveland to clear the names of over 4,000 residents who deserve a fresh start,” Bibb said in a news release. “This is just one way we can make progress on criminal justice reform to balance the scales and remove barriers to employment and re-entry.”
Cleveland Municipal Court judges will consider the motions and the expungements will take effect once they are signed.
Bibb appeared alongside Chief Prosecutor Aqueelah Jordan and Council President Blaine Griffin, who introduced the 2020 legislation, at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center during Wednesday’s event.