Michigan ‘Clean Slate’ plan could take years to implement

Misdemeanor marijuana offenses eligible for expungement

'Clean slate' plan's implementation could take few years, millions of dollars

For thousands of Michiganders, it’s the opportunity for a better life.

The bipartisan Clean Slate Package will automatically expunge some marijuana convictions, minor crimes and nonviolent felonies.

It is one of the most progressive legislation of its kind in the country and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the legislation a “game changer.”

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said there’s still a lot of work to be done before people get a fresh start.

“By clearing these records, by expunging them and setting them aside, means that people will have full access to the economy, full access to housing, full access to educational opportunities," Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist joined Whitmer when she signed the Clean Slate package. He said it’s something he took personally.

“I think in the city of Detroit, the estimate is some 80,000 people would be immediately eligible for this expanded expungement opportunities,” Gilchrist said.

If a misdemeanor has been holding you back from a job or applying for your dream house, there’s still a seven year wait to see it off of your record. For nonviolent felonies, it’s 10 years.

“Seven to 10 years is better than never being able to be cleared in the first place," Gilchrist said. "It’s a good starting point.”

To get the ball rolling, there will be what Gilchrist calls an “implementation process” that could take up to two years and millions of dollars.

“We made an estimate that it’s going to cost about $23-25 million to implement the Clean Slate automated expungement system," Gilchrist said. "So we have a pathway to securing that and we’re looking to finalize that by the end of the year.”

Now not all misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies are the same in the bill package.

Some marijuana offenses that occurred after recreational marijuana became legal will be expunged.

Michigan House Bill 4982 was first introduced in 2019 and was signed into law by Gov. Whitmer on Monday alongside a number of House bills designed to automate the criminal record expungement process and expand eligibility criteria. Click here to read the entire bill.

More: New ‘Clean Slate’ laws to automate criminal record expungement process, expand eligibility criteria in Michigan

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.