On October 12, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed the “Clean Slate” legislation to expand expungement for marijuana convictions in the state. The legislation is a series of seven bills to broaden the criteria for expungements related to not only marijuana but also traffic offenses and other minor crimes.
“This is bigger than criminal justice reform,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “This is about economic opportunity and full participation in our economy and our society.”
Michiganders convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses that would have been legal after cannabis was legalized in the state in 2018 can apply to have their convictions erased. Prosecutors will have 60 days to dispute the claim. If prosecutors don’t make a rebuttal, the marijuana conviction will be expunged.
Misdemeanors and felonies not related to marijuana will be cleared with an automatic expungement process.
“During my 2018 campaign for governor, I made expungement of marijuana charges one of my key priorities, and I’m so proud today that we can follow through on that goal,” Whitmer said at a press conference. “For too long, criminal charges have created barriers to employment, barriers to housing, and others for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. These bipartisan bills are going to be a game-changer.”
Michigan will automatically clear misdemeanors seven years after sentencing. Felonies will be removed ten years after sentencing or the person’s release from incarceration, whichever was last. Up to two felonies and four misdemeanors can be automatically cleared.
“You’re in your community, you’re invested in your community, you’re spending time with your family, you’re working, you’re accessing housing,” said State Rep. Graham Filler (Dewitt-R). “We have less recidivism, less victims. This is what happens when you access expungement.”
The laws are set to take effect in April 2021.