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State Sen. Daylin Leach introduces bill to expunge drug convictions for medical marijuana users

HARRISBURG — A Democratic State Senator from Montgomery County introduced legislation Monday to expunge possession of marijuana convictions for those who can prove they were using the drug for medical purposes.

State Senator Daylin Leach says medical marijuana users do not deserve to have criminal records. Senate Bill 1160, introduced by Leach on Monday, is the first 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.

“I’ve met countless Pennsylvanians who have told me that marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain,” Leach said in a press release announcing the legislation. “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 they do not deserve to have a criminal record.”

To have their conviction erased, the petitioner would have to show they have 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, the bill says.

Senate Bill 3, Leach’s bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, was signed into law as Act 16 in 2016. The bill legalized medical marijuana for 17 specified conditions.