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Bill would eliminate criminal records of people convicted for marijuana possession or use

marijuana joint

A state lawmaker has proposed clearing the criminal records of people convicted of possessing or using marijuana. It would apply to misdemeanor convictions prior to voter approval of a ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan.

State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) says voters last year strongly registered their support for legalizing marijuana.

“So, a part of that is making sure that not only we stop prohibition and we stop the wasteful failed effort, but also that we reach back and provide relief to all those folks that were hurt by prohibition,” he said.

Irwin says 235,000 people would automatically have their records expunged. Others would have to ask a court to wipe away their marijuana convictions. He says it makes sense for them to have their records cleared automatically without having to take up a court’s time to do it.

“I think that there’s a lot of support for this idea, and I’m hopeful over the next couple months maybe we can come to an agreement on that we can present to the governor,” Irwin said.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s open to the discussion.

The state Senate’s Republican leaders don’t yet have a position on the legislation. It was filed today with the Senate clerks.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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