Group pushes for inclusion, equality in Michigan marijuana industry

New bill would streamline expungement

A group is pushing for more diversity in Michigan's legal marijuana industry.

DETROIT – With recreational marijuana recently becoming legal in Michigan, a group is pushing for opportunities for those sent to prison because of pot.

“It’s sick that hundreds of millions of dollars are about to be made, but the people that have been hurt the most have been shut out,” Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) said.

Robinson, Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) and a former cocaine kingpin, “Freeway” Rick Ross, teamed up Monday to rally for inclusion and equality in the cannabis industry.

“When I found out that cocaine was destroying my community, I feel that I had made a mistake. But now here with marijuana it’s a totally different,” Ross said. “Not only do I want to make sure that I’m able to win but I want to make sure that other people who look like me, who think like me, that we’re allowed to keep up with this process."

Ross was sentenced to a life sentence behind bars, but he was released and now hopes to help other people. That begins with a new bill that would include criminal justice reform benefiting those in prison for marijuana convictions.

“Our bill, House Bill 5120, will streamline the expungement process for over 235,000 marijuana convictions within 60 days of someone filling out an application,” Robinson said. “People who suffered from the war on drugs are going make millions, too. It’s all about everybody in and nobody out.”

The bill has passed in the House and now needs to pass in the Senate. A bill addressing social equality in regards to marijuana is also in the works.

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.