More than two years after Michigan voters approved marijuana for adult use, residents convicted of many pot-related crimes that have now been legalized have an opportunity to expunge them from their records.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a sweeping "clean slate" package of bills in October that will automatically expunge some criminal records in 2023, while others have to be applied for. On Monday, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a new website where Michigan residents can learn about how to begin the process expunge the marijuana-related criminal records that require an application.
"Michiganders voted to legalize recreational marijuana use years ago," Nessel said in a statement. "Residents should rightfully be able to eliminate convictions for actions that are no longer considered a crime in our state."
According to the new website, "a person convicted of 1 or more misdemeanor or local ordinance marijuana crimes may petition the convicting court to set aside the convictions if they were based on activity that would not have been a crime after December 6, 2018, when a 2018 voter-passed initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Michigan went into effect."
The website explains the requirements, including a checklist of eligible misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Additionally, a person convicted of one or more criminal offenses including felonies (but not more than a total of three felonies) may petition to expunge the convictions.
Applicants need to provide their full name and current address, as well as a certified record of each conviction that the applicant is seeking to expunge.
The application must be filed either by mail or in person in the court where the conviction occurred.
A court may or may not require the applicant to appear before a court.
More information will be added to the website as it becomes available.
Marijuana convictions can be a barrier to accessing jobs, loans, housing, education, and some public resources. The racist War on Drugs has had a disproportionate impact on people of color despite the fact that white people use marijuana at about the same rate as others.
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