There continues to be some large gaps in justice when it comes to the state by state cannabis legalization movement. Among them is a key question; What happens to those individuals with cannabis offenses that took place before the laws changed? Believe it or not, many of them aren’t automatically, retroactively covered by new laws that decriminalize or legalize weed going forward. In Michigan, one senator is looking to right this wrong.
On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor presented a piece of legislation that would guarantee automatic expungement for those with past, low level cannabis misdemeanors on their records. Estimates project that the bill could affect around 235,000 people. That’s key, as criminal records can make a difference in people getting employment, or qualifying for state benefits. Automatic expungement would also dodge the high cost to the state of clearing cases individually in court.
“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,” Irwin said, as reported by Click On Detroit. “Cannabis is now legal in Michigan and petty