NewsLocal NewsInvestigations


Man from Cass County is one of the 1st people to file marijuana expungement case in Missouri

Adam Mace marijuana expungement
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 19:25:17-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amendment 3, which legalized cannabis for adults over 21, also created pathway for people to expunge their possession records.

There are two types of expungements which exist in the state of Missouri: the first one is if you've already served your sentence or no longer on probation or parole, the court will automatically expunge your record as if it never happened.

The second one is if you're currently in the Missouri Department of Corrections or on probation or parole, you have to file a motion to get your record expunged and be released.

Attorneys and cannabis advocates tell KSHB 41 News most expungement cases will come from people on probation or not in jail or prison. Very few will come from people who are currently in prison.

Adam Mace is one of those people, and his case is pretty rare.

He's not only one of the first people to file for expungement in the state, but also the first to file in Cass County.

Mace is three years into a five-year sentence for possessing cannabis. Mace was 18-years-old when he was arrested for possessing more than 35 grams of cannabis. However, Mace did not get a trafficking charge for that.

A Cass County judge could soon decide if Mace's record should be expunged under Amendment 3, which would mean he'd be a free man.

A hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday, but got pushed back late Tuesday afternoon. It's unclear what date the court will move it to.

"I feel like a pioneer," Mace said. "I feel like the wheels of justice are finally turning correctly."

Mace talked to us on the phone from Algoa Correctional Center, a minimum-security facility in Jefferson City.

He hopes the judge will see things his way.

"I probably want him to know the five years I was sentenced to was too much for a teenage kid at that time, or anybody," Mace said. "At the time I had the marijuana, I was young."

Mace and his attorney hope his possible expungement paves the way for other people who were convicted for simple cannabis possession.

"It's either going to happen this Thursday if the court agrees with me or maybe it's taken under advisement and ruled on on a later date," Justin Ortiz, Mace's public defender, said.

Ortiz said because this is a new process, attorneys like him are trying to figure it out as they go.

"The language in the amendment is great. It doesn't allow for much wiggle room so essentially, it's an automatic thing," Ortiz said. "It's not so easy insofar that the amendment does not have a lot of procedural outline as far as when to get it done, how to get it done, in the case of Adam where someone is in prison or on probation / parole."

Ortiz anticipates it could range anywhere from couple days to a couple weeks for Mace to leave Algoa if the judge rules in favor.

Mace's case is rare and also complicated.

Mace has been serving time since 2008 for another charge. Mace was 19-years-old when he crashed into another car on Highway 291 near Harrisonville, killing 44-year-old Denise Lero Greene. Mace was intoxicated while behind the wheel.

In 2010, he was convicted of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The conviction also meant he violated his probation in the cannabis possession case and would have to serve 5 years. After finishing 85 percent of the manslaughter sentence, he started serving his cannabis sentence, although the cannabis case happened first.

"Although there's nothing I can do to take any of that back, it's horrible what happened, best thing I can do is let everybody know I'm terribly sorry," Mace said. "I am a better man today than I was back 14 years ago. I think about it all the time. I just wish I wasn't so stupid sometimes, you know."

We reached out to Denise Lero Greene's family about this story. Although Mace's previous conviction and his cannabis conviction are separate, Lero Greene's family says Adam should serve all the time he received.

Ortiz said he doesn't think the manslaughter case will have any bearing on the judge's decision in the cannabis expungement

"It shouldn't because these are two separate cases," Ortiz said. "The marijuana amendment is pretty clear on what needs to happen and it doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room, so he should be released, as well as have his case expunged."

Overall, Mace says he's ready to move forward positively outside prison and catch up on things he's missed.

He said he's appreciative of the support he's receiving from the cannabis community and his brother.

"Oh man, it's astronomical," Mace said. "I could start crying right now thinking about it, to be honest. I think I'm ready, I can tell you that."