SAN FRANCISCO, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The House of Representatives of the northwestern U.S. state of Alaska Sunday passed a bill that will give better job opportunities to people who were convicted of possessing marijuana before it was legalized in 2015, a local TV report said.
House Bill 316, proposed by Alaska Representative Harriet Drummond, will bar the public from accessing records of people charged with simple possession of marijuana, the TV news outlet KTVA reported.
"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 Drummond.
Alaska became the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana on Feb. 24, 2015, which allowed Alaskans aged 21 or older to buy and possess marijuana.
Bill 316, if cleared by the state Senate and signed by Governor Bill Walker, will not expunge any marijuana possession conviction, but only seal it from the public, thus removing barriers for those who "made mistakes" in possessing marijuana in the past to look for better jobs.
"This bill does not benefit drug dealers. 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," Drummond said.
Despite the new bill, the state's law enforcement would continue to keep those people's previous records of marijuana convictions.