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Gov. Whitmer signs 'clean slate' bill to erase marijuana convictions

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is signing multiple bills on Monday that will erase some crimes for people convicted of marijuana crimes.

Once signed into law, Michigan will automatically expunge criminal records and ease the application process for those convicted of marijuana offenses the sweeping "clean slate" bills. 

Whitmer will sign six bills that will reform the state's criminal justice system including one that will allow past marijuana offenses to be expunged from the record. The bill does not apply to felony convictions that resulted in a sentence of ten years or more.

Included in the bill is allowing a person to set aside one or more marijuana offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after December 6, 2018, when recreational marijuana use by adults became legal in the state

The marijuana bill was introduced in October 2019 by the late Rep. Isaac Robinson. After a series of hearing through the House, it was approved on November 5, 2019, and sent to the Senate for consideration. The bill wasn't discussed until June 24 but wasn't read in the Senate for consideration until September 23 when it passed with 35 yes votes to 2 no.

“This is a historic day in Michigan. 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,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is also an opportunity to grow our workforce and expand access to job training and education for so many people. I am proud to sign these bills today alongside Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and many of the bipartisan leaders who worked on them.” 

Gilchrist said during Monday's signing that the laws disproportionately affect people of color and that, by signing these bills, it opens up doors for many people who have been dogged by prior convictions.

“This anti-poverty, pro-job opportunity Clean Slate legislation will reinvigorate the economic potential of hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose records have hindered their availability to get a job or secure housing, and it will help us grow our workforce,” said Gilchrist. “This is the right thing to do on behalf of people everywhere who deserve another chance and will help improve livelihoods. There is more work to do, but Michigan has now established itself as a leader in removing barriers to economic opportunity for people who have made mistakes. I will continue to stand tall for Michiganders across the state who need someone in their corner.” 

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