Whitmer signs bills allowing marijuana convictions, other crimes to be expunged

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law allowing clerks to process absentee ballots...
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law allowing clerks to process absentee ballots the day before Election Day.(State of Michigan)
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 1:25 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Thousands of Michigan residents with a criminal record could have their convictions wiped clean after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills easing standards for expungement on Monday.

The program will automatically expunge criminal convictions for marijuana offenses and other crimes that don’t involve assault. Certain misdemeanor convictions will be set aside after seven years while certain felony convictions will be set aside after 10 years.

The bills also expand expungement eligibility to more crimes, including traffic offenses.

Whitmer said the expungement plan will help people restart their lives after serving penalties.

“This is a historic day in Michigan," she said. "These bipartisan bills are a game changer for people who are seeking opportunities for employment, housing, and more, and they will help ensure a clean slate for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.”

For many people, their crimes will disappear automatically without them having to ask the courts, as long as they don’t commit more crimes during the waiting period. Any marijuana charge that came after Dec. 6, 2018, and wouldn’t be a crime under Michigan’s legalized marijuana law will be expunged right away.

“Everyone deserves the chance to build a good life for themselves and their families. But far too many people enter the criminal justice system and end up cut off from those opportunities and are pushed toward a cruel cycle of poverty and crime," said Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield. “That’s not right, and it creates bad outcomes for all of us.”

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