The US Federal Sentencing Commission (USSC) has approved an amendment to update sentencing guidelines advising judges to treat past marijuana possession offenses more leniently.
At a public meeting on Wednesday, committee members voted to issue a series of amendments to the existing guidelines, including a multi-part review of criminal history that adds cannabis possession as an example of an offense that generally warrants sentencing discretion.
As it is, federal judges are directed to consider past convictions, including statewide cannabis offenses, as aggravating factors when making sentencing decisions in new cases. But as more states move to legalize marijuana, advocates have pushed for updated guidelines to make them so a person’s marijuana record doesn’t add criminal history points that could lead to improved penalties.
There was no discussion of the cannabis amendment at Wednesday’s meeting beyond a brief description, and it was approved in a voice vote. The revised guidance will now be sent to Congress by May 1. If lawmakers do not object to the amendment, the change will be finalized as of November 1.
Last month , The Department of Justice testified in support of the amendment At USSC public hearing.
The proposal does not seek to remove marijuana convictions
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