A local lawmaker is working to give hundreds of people a second chance if recreational marijuana is legalized come the November election.
Last week, State Rep. Sheldon Neeley introduced a bill that would make it easier for those convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes to have those records set aside.
“If marijuana becomes legal, I don’t believe that it should still be a burden on those individuals that have had these crimes placed on their permanent record,” Neeley said.
Neeley is working to pass new legislation that would remove non-violent misdemeanor marijuana charges from a person’s permanent record if voters make recreational marijuana legal in the November election.
“They should be expunged of that crime automatically, up on the legislation of marijuana,” Neeley said.
Neeley said he is neither for or against the legalization of recreational marijuana, but said his bill simply makes sense if marijuana use is legalized.
However, residents across Michigan are still conflicted on whether or not they support his bill.
“Everybody deserves a second chance in life and you know, I think that’d be great to help people who’ve made mistakes in the past and give them a fresh start,” one resident said.
“People that engage in criminal behavior know that they’re engaging in criminal behavior. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in retrospect or if it’s currently. At that point and time, it was illegal. And they knew it was illegal and chose to break the law,” another resident said.
Neeley said he understands some people are worried this measure would give criminals a free pass, but insists it is not for those who have committed a felony or violent crimes.
“We will have some people that will be in opposition to this, but this is only for non-violent misdemeanors for people that have been criminalized for marijuana use in the past,” he said.
The bill has since been sent to committee.
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