Introduced by Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) last week, a bill would allow misdemeanor convictions involving low-level marijuana possession and use to be automatically expunged.
The bill would affect approximately 235,000 Michigan residents. Rather than having to go to the court to seek expungement, changes to the Michigan State Police’s database would be done electronically.
Additionally, the bill also details way for individuals with more serious cannabis-related charges—and those with multiple marijuana-related convictions—to apply through the courts in order to obtain an expungement. Although expungement wouldn’t be done automatically, roughly 25,000 people could get their criminal record cleared through the court system—in a less costly and time-consuming manner.
Having a marijuana arrest, charge, or conviction on your record could negatively affect your ability to seek employment, find a place to live, apply for college, and take advantage of many opportunities in life. This bill would return such economic opportunities to these affected individuals since state voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis after the 2018 midterm elections.
The bill nearly mirrors the action taken in California to expunge low-level pot-related crimes. Earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers passed a bill to provide pardons to those who have been charged and convicted of possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis.