Proposed bill would expunge records of those charged with marijuana offenses

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 11:24:01-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — It's been more than six months since recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan, and a new bill introduced in the Michigan legislature looks to expunge criminal records of people convicted of possession or use of marijuana offenses.

Senate Bill 416, introduced by Sen. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, would clear criminal records for the more than 235,000 people without requiring them to apply to the court that sentenced them.

According to the senator, only 6 percent of people eligible for expungement apply because of the process.

“Automatic expungement for all of our lowest-level cannabis offenders allows people to move on with their lives and making it automatic is essential because many people can’t afford an attorney, or the legal fees associated with an application,” Irwin said in a release. “Cannabis is now legal in Michigan and petty offenses in the past should be no barrier to getting back to work or school.”

According to Irwin, the bill also extends to people who were charged with growing or possession with intent to distribute charges. Right now, Irwin said the bill will give opportunities for those people to apply to a judge to expunge their records.

“This is the next step in ending the unsuccessful prohibition of marijuana that incarcerated and punished Michigan residents unfairly for decades,” Irwin added in a release. “After last year’s mandate from voters, I am hopeful that a majority of legislators will vote to give Michigan residents back the opportunities that were unjustly taken from them.”