Marijuana is now legal for Michigan residents, regardless of whether they have a qualifying health condition. While the state initially legalized medicinal marijuana back in 2008, it wasn’t until 2018 when recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan. However, despite the legalization of marijuana, thousands of people still have convictions on their records for marijuana-related offenses.
As we noted in a previous blog post, Michigan lawmakers recently passed the Clean Slate law, revamping the state’s outdated expungement laws. While the Clean Slate legislation impacts those with many types of criminal convictions, one of the most notable aspects of the law is how it treats marijuana offenses.
Under Michigan’s new expungement law, anyone convicted of a marijuana-related offense involving conduct that would not be illegal after December 6, 2018, can ask the court to set aside their conviction. In other words, if you were convicted of any of the following, you can seek an expungement under the new laws:
- Possession of marijuana;
- Use of marijuana; or
- Possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Unlike other types of convictions, there is no waiting period to file for an expungement of a marijuana conviction. And there is no limit to the number of marijuana convictions that can be set aside under the new rule.
Once you ask the court to set aside a Michigan marijuana conviction, it is then up to the prosecution to decide whether it wants to contest the expungement. The prosecutor cannot base its objection on the presence of other convictions on your record but can argue that the conduct resulting in your conviction was illegal. For example, if you were charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana but ended up pleading guilty to simple possession, the prosecution may argue you don’t qualify.
If the prosecution objects, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether to expunge your record. Notably, unlike set-asides for other convictions, there is a rebuttable presumption that the conduct giving rise to any of the above offenses would no longer be against the law. Thus, the burden is on the prosecutor to show why you do not qualify for an expungement or why setting aside the conviction is otherwise improper. If the prosecution does not file an answer, the court must grant your request for a set-aside.
One thing to keep in mind is that you must file your request for an expungement with the convicting court. So, if you have marijuana convictions from multiples counties, you will need to apply in each county.
Do You Need Assistance Filing for an Expungement?
If you have marijuana convictions on your record, you can now petition the court to set aside those convictions. At Michigan Defense Law, our dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys has extensive experience helping clients set aside their marijuana-related convictions. We can help you understand which offenses may qualify for a Michigan expungement and how to clear your record. To learn more about the services we provide and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 248-451-2200 to schedule today.