Nearly two years after Michigan residents approved the legalization of marijuana, residents convicted of many pot-related crimes now have an opportunity to clear the offenses from their criminal record.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills on Monday that provides a fresh start for up to 235,000 Michigan residents with pot-relate convictions. Marijuana convictions can be a barrier to accessing jobs, loans, housing, education, and some public resources.
The legislation is one of the most comprehensive in the nation, allowing for expungements of misdemeanors and some low-level felonies.
“During my 2018 campaign for governor I made expungement of marijuana charges one of my key priorities, and I’m so proud today that we can follow through on that goal,” Whitmer said at a press conference. “For too long, criminal charges have created barriers to employment, barriers to housing and others for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. These bipartisan bills are going to be a game changer.”
The “clean slate” bills offer two paths to expungement. For people convicted of marijuana offenses that would have been legal after marijuana became legalized on Dec. 6, 2018, they can apply to have their convictions removed from their records under a streamlined process. A prosecutor would have 60 days to protest the expungement if they want to block them. In that case, a hearing would be set. [Read more at Detroit Metro Times]