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Weekend event offers Michiganders a chance to expunge marijuana convictions

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

People seeking help expunging their records of misdemeanor marijuana convictions can get that help at a special event in Detroit Saturday.

The Expungement Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kemeny Recreation Center, 2260 S Fort St. in Detroit.

The fair will help people with misdemeanor convictions with processing assistance and legal advice.

Bonita Money is the executive director of the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA). She’s organized similar expungement fairs in California and Illinois.    

Money says misdemeanor marijuana convictions have taken a particular toll on communities of color.

“There’s issues of housing, employment, occupational licensing, voting rights, you know it’s just very discriminating,” says Money.

There are more than 200,000 Michiganders with marijuana convictions.

Along with NDICA, the Expungement Fair is hosted by Common Citizen, Perpetual Harvest and The Redemption Coalition.

“Expunging cannabis-related misdemeanors can help address Michigan’s significant talent shortage, create opportunities for workforce development and help people lead more productive lives,” says Michael Elias, CEO of Michigan Pure Med and Common Citizen.

There are bills in the legislature aimed at making it easier to expunge criminal records. 

Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana a decade ago. 

In 2018, Michigan voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana possession.  Retail sales are expected to begin in March or April of 2020.  

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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