A new bill introduced by a handful of Michigan Democrats aims to reform the state's criminal justice system.
If passed, House Bill 6508 would see some people charged with use, possession or distribution of cannabis released from prison. Should the bill succeed, it would set up a system that would allow incarcerated people with certain marijuana-related crimes to petition the parole board to be released.
Only those who have been convicted of offenses that have since been decriminalized will be eligible for release. That includes charges of cannabis use, possession or distribution. A successful petition would lead to immediate release from prison for the applicant.
Another bill heading to the senate also aims to help cannabis offenders get beyond their past convictions. Senate Bill 1200 would allow people with past possession convictions to apply to have their records cleared. Bill 1200 is similarly being supported by Democratic lawmakers and is identical to a bill introduced in June which is still in the Committee on Law and Justice. Senate Bill 1200 is now before the Judiciary Committee.
If Bill 6508 does pass, Michigan would join the likes of some California cities which moved to release cannabis prisoners earlier this year. Michigan's new governor, Gretchen Whitmer (D), has already stated her own interest in expunging cannabis offenses, though it is not clear whether she supports actions like those proposed in Bill 6508.