Robinson and Jones Legislation Streamlines Marijuana Expungements

New legislation will simplify the marijuana expungement process
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LANSING — State Reps. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) and Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) recently introduced House Bill 5120 to streamline the marijuana expungement process by granting expungements to applicants if the prosecutor doesn’t object. Under HB 5120, after a person applies for expungement, if the prosecutor’s office doesn’t object during the allotted time, then the expungement is granted without the need for a hearing. The allotted time to object is 60 days for misdemeanors and 90 days for low-level marijuana felony convictions.

“House Bill 5120 simplifies the application and will make the process setting aside marijuana convictions easier,” said Robinson. “This legislation is about removing job and housing barriers and the stigma associated with a criminal record. People should not be punished for the rest of their lives for what is now legal for citizens in Michigan.”

An early estimate suggests that if passed, HB 5120 could expunge the records of about 235,000 Michiganders with non-violent felonies or low-level marijuana convictions. These expungements would only apply to public-facing and employment background checks; law enforcement would still have access to past conviction records.

“When we talk about removing barriers to opportunities, like access to ownership, HB 5120 is the only piece of legislation that makes sense,” said Jones. “No one should be suffering from the thing that people are excited to profit from – marijuana.”

HB 5120 was introduced with bipartisan support and 33 co-sponsors, including state Reps. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D- Detroit), chair of the Detroit Caucus; Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), Chairman of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus; Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit),  Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), Steve Marino (R–Harrison Township), and Ryan Berman (R– West Bloomfield Township). The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.