LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Marijuana leaders from across the state joined forces today in Lansing to talk about how to move forward in an ever-changing industry.
“Once we’ve given personal freedoms, we can’t forget about those people who were unfairly punished by the system prior to those new rules,” said Rick Thompson, the owner of the Michigan Cannibas Business Development Group. “Expungement is how we take away the stain that those people have experienced through their negative cannibas encounters with law enforcement.”
Right now more 250,000 people in Michigan have a criminal record for marijuana-related crimes. Those crimes are now legal.
“Erasing felonies and erasing misdemeanors is important for people to be able to move forward with their lives,” said Thompson.
The Michigan Cannibas Business Development Group hosted a conference today in downtown Lansing to help marijuana business owners learn more about the industry, expungement being one of the main topics.
“They’re inhibited from employment, they’re inhibited from membership in the armed forces or in college careers. There are many different ways that the stain can stay with them,” said Thompson.
Michigan Senator Jeff Irwin introduced a bill earlier this month that would clear the records of people convicted for possession or use of marijuana in Michigan.
Right now only 6 percent of those affected go through the current process because of it being expensive, long, and sometimes uncertain.
Justin Dunaskiss, a lobbyist and speaker at the conference today, says he sees this bill making progress.
“I know the governor and attorney general made that campaign promises and so I think we’re going to see some activity on that in this legislative sessions,” said Dunaskiss.
Thompson hopes that that’s the case.
“It’s time for us to fix that forever, once and for all,” said Thompson.