Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was all smiles this month as she posed with the new package of bipartisan bills lifting the burden of past marijuana convictions. This initiative has sparked controversy amongst the criminal justice world.
The “Clean Slate” literature is designed to give a fresh start to some 235,000 Michigan residents whose prior marijuana convictions had stood in the way of employment, financial aid, and housing opportunities. Often these hurtles have made the lives of many Detroiters that much more difficult based on the record of past mistakes.
Think about that.
Their lives diminished for years, even decades, for enjoying, or maybe ‘sharing’ a little “green”.
For many of us, being users ourselves it might be hard to understand the seriousness of a marijuana charge now that it’s legal, taxed, and monitored by the very government that resisted the will of the people. But these charges loom heavily over the heads of those who burden them.
The Bill come two years after state voters legalized pot use, so the question is; why did it take so long to do what is right and reasonable?
And where is the promised release for thousands of prisoners STILL serving years behind bars for non-violent marijuana offenses?
It's no question, there is ample evidence that elements of the criminal justice system need reform. May we suggest that well known “good record” prisoners with supportive family or community members waiting for them should be considered for immediate release based on the threat of the debilitating, if not deadly, Coronavirus.
We hear from prisoners how the MDOC has put their lives in danger by moving Covid victims into virus-free populations. “They’re trying to kill us in here!”, one prisoner told me. His fear and concern come from scores of prisoners dying from the virus.
Too many men and women in Michigan remain locked away when they could become contributing, tax-paying citizens. If only their freedom could be restored, we could see a whole generation of potential.
As for the “Clean Slate” Bill, expungement is not automatic. There is a long process to go through, so find out how your record can be cleared here:
Written by Bill Proctor