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AOC co-sponsors bipartisan bill that would make it easier to expunge non-violent pot offenses

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez smiles during a 2019 speaking engagement in Austin. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / STÅLE GRUT / NRKBETA
  • Wikimedia Commons / Ståle Grut / NRKbeta
  • U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez smiles during a 2019 speaking engagement in Austin.

A bipartisan bill filed Thursday by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, and would create a program to help state and local governments expunge the records of non-violent cannabis offenders.

Under the pair's Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, the U.S. Justice Department would offer grants covering state and local governments' administrative expenses for identifying clearing eligible pot convictions from people's records.

The bill would provide $2 million in annual funding for the program from 2023 through 2032.

In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said reforming cannabis law isn't partisan issue, adding that Americans of both parties are eager to see change.

"As we continue to advocate for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, this bill will provide needed resources to expunge drug charges that continue to hold back Americans — disproportionately people of color — from employment, housing and other opportunity," she added.

Joyce, a former public defender and a prosecutor, this summer cosponsored the first Republican-led bill to federally decriminalize cannabis.

"Goes to show that lawmakers don’t have to agree on everything to find common ground on solutions to the challenges facing everyday Americans," Joyce tweeted about the HOPE Act.

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