Thursday, November 8, 2018
This local article, headlined "Whitmer will consider forgiving marijuana crimes," highlights how there can be a quick connection between marijuana reform and criminal justice reform. Here are the details as reported from the state up north:
Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer will pursue executive action or legislation to free inmates and expunge criminal records for those convicted of marijuana crimes that will become legal under the state's pending recreational marijuana law, she indicated Wednesday.
“I think that the people of Michigan have said that for conduct that would now be legal, no one should bear a lifelong record for that conduct,” Whitmer said in her first press conference since winning election over Republican Bill Schuette on Tuesday night.
Voters approved Proposal 1 to legalize adult marijuana possession and set up a system to license businesses.
Whitmer will replace GOP Gov. Rick Snyder on Jan. 1 and “will start taking a look at (marijuana crime expungement) and making some decisions and taking some action early next year,” she said.
The East Lansing Democrat supported Proposal 1, which will allow adults over the age of 21 to carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants for personal use. Those provisions are set to take effect by early December, while licensing retail shops could take more than a year.
Spokesman Zack Pohl said “a legislative solution is probably the most likely avenue” for expunging low-level marijuana convictions. Whitmer will work with a Republican-controlled Legislature, and it’s not yet clear whether lawmakers will have any appetite to take up the issue.
“I think it’s a little unclear still in Michigan law what the governor’s authority is to expunge convictions for marijuana crimes, but... she thinks the people have spoken, and people who are serving sentences for a crime that’s now legal deserve some sort of remedy,” Pohl said.