The Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation to protect Alaskans’ ability to get work despite past convictions for low-level weed possession.
House Bill 316 does not erase convictions but restricts public access to records related to these charges.
Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) introduced the Bill after recreational cannabis was legalized in Alaska in 2014, which allowed the sale and consumption of marijuana but did not address how to deal with people who had prior convictions for possession.
“This bill is not a get out of jail card; it’s a reasonable approach to allow Alaskans to get jobs currently unavailable to them because they did something that Alaskans have voted repeatedly they believe should be entirely legal,” said Rep. Drummond, and it won’t benefit drug dealers, she added according to KTVA.
“Rather, it helps mothers and fathers clear their names from past mistakes, allows many of our friends and neighbors to apply for jobs they didn’t think they could ever get, and strengthens communities by providing new opportunities for those who continue to be held back by something that is no longer against the rules.”
The bill pertains to convictions for possession of less than one ounce of weed, committed when an individual was at least 21, in the case of defendants without any other criminal charges.
House Bill 316 passed the House by a vote of 30-10, it now heads to the Alaska Senate for consideration.