Michigan lawmaker proposes bill to expunge cannabis offenses from criminal records

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A bill introduced this week in the Michigan Senate would expunge the records of people convicted for possession or use of marijuana.

Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced the bill on Tuesday. Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018 and state sales are expected to begin later this year.

“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,” Sen. Irwin said. “Cannabis is now legal in Michigan and petty offenses in the past should be no barrier to getting back to work or school.” 

The bill would also allow those convicted of growing or selling the chance to apply to a judge to expunge their records. The legislation also directs courts to grant expungements in cases where the applicant was caught with amounts that are now legally allowed.

“This is the next step in ending the unsuccessful prohibition of marijuana that incarcerated and punished Michigan residents unfairly for decades,” Sen. Irwin said. “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.”

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