Michigan: Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Expungement Legislation

Members of the Michigan state House and Senate have approved legislation to allow for the courts to “set aside” certain past marijuana convictions.

House Bill 4982 explicitly permits those convicted of one or more misdemeanor marijuana offenses to file a petition with the court to have their criminal record set aside. According to the Associated Press: “In Michigan, an expungement — or set aside — clears the public record of a conviction so it does not appear in a background check. Law enforcement still keeps a non-public record, but people no longer have to disclose their criminal past on job applications or other forms.”

Senators recently approved an amended version of the House bill by a 334 to 34 vote. House members then re-approved the amended measure by a 98 to 7 vote. The measure now goes to the desk of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has expressed support for this policy change.

House Bill 4982 is a part of a broader package of expungement-related legislation approved by the legislature. A separate bill in the package, HB 4980, would automate the record clearing process for many low-level misdemeanor and felony offenses, including certain marijuana offenses, after a specified waiting period.

Other bills in the package address the amount of time one must wait prior to becoming eligible to have their records vacated and expand the number of expungements someone can receive.

Two other Senate bills, SB 681 and SB 682, which expand the ability for individuals to get their records set aside for offenses that occurred when they were a juvenile by making the process automatic, were approved by the Senate chamber. These two measures will now move to the House for consideration.

These measures, if enacted into law, will help hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents in getting misdemeanor offenses cleared from their record.

If you live in Michigan, please contact Governor Whitmer in support of these important pieces of legislation.