Eliminate Marijuana Convictions Campaign
There are over 20,000 arrests for non violent marijuana related conditions in Michigan. Most of them are simple possession or use of marijuana. African Americans and other minorities are more than three times more likely to be arrested, charged and convicted for simple nonviolent marijuana offenses. The war on marijuana has a significant disproportional impact on African Americans and the communities in which they reside. Because of these arrests, their vehicles are subject to forfeiture, they miss work from having to appear in court, they are subject to jail sentences if they violate probation. On November 6, 2018 Michigan voters are likely to end these senseless arrests when they hopefully approve Proposal 1, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act which will legalize adult use, recreational marijuana. When that happens (we must get out and vote), it will not automatically remove the hundreds of thousand of marijuana related convictions that have been unfairly issued over the last several decades.
The expungement laws must also change in Michigan to restore the justice which has been so unfairly applied. The actions of so many regarding the simple possession, use, cultivation and distribution of marijuana will now be legal by those over the age of 21. In order to make this law retroactive, the Michigan legislature must introduce and enact statutory law that will do so. We must also have a Michigan Attorney General and Governor who will act quickly and favorably on petitions for pardon’s and commutations to get those currently in jail for non-violent marijuana related offenses out immediately.
Marijuana related expungement programs are happening all over the country. In 2016 Proposition 64 legalized recreational marijuana in California. It also approved the ability to retroactively erase some, and reduce other, misdemeanor and felony marijuana-related convictions dating back to 1975. Interestingly, fewer individuals than expected have applied for these expungements because many are not aware of this opportunity and others believe it is too complicated and costly. In response, on January 31, 2018, the District Attorney for San Fransisco affirmatively dismissed almost 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana cases and will review an additional 5,000 felony cases for possible action. On January 24, 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana legislatively. The Vermont governor then promptly pardoned 192 marijuana offenders. In September of 2018 the District Attorney of Manhattan New York dismissed over 3000 cannabis cases dating as far back as 1978. This happened before New York has legalized adult use marijuana. The Brooklyn DA did the same thing shortly after stating that “its serves the interest of justice”. In Michigan, the suffering must stop, justice must be restored and families reunited.