The federal U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) has approved an amendment to update sentencing guidelines advising judges to treat prior marijuana possession offenses more leniently.
At a public meeting on Wednesday, members of the commission voted to promulgate a series of amendments to existing guidelines, including a multi-part criminal history revision that adds cannabis possession as an example of an offense that generally warrants sentencing discretion.
As it stands, federal judges are directed to take into account prior convictions, including state-level cannabis offenses, as aggravating factors when making sentencing decisions in new cases. But as more states have moved to legalize marijuana, advocates have pushed for updated guidelines to make it so a person’s marijuana record doesn’t add criminal history points that could lead to enhanced sentences.
There wasn’t discussion of the cannabis amendment at Wednesday’s meeting beyond a brief description, and it was approved on a voice vote. The revised guidance will now be sent to Congress by May 1. If lawmakers don’t contest the amendment, the change will be finalized effective November 1.
Last month, the Justice Department testified in support of the amendment at a USSC public hearing.
The proposal doesn’t seek to remove marijuana convictions
The federal U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) has approved an amendment to update sentencing guidelines advising judges to treat prior marijuana… Continue reading
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