The Clean Slate law enables individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses, such as possession, use, or possession of paraphernalia, to seek expungement without a waiting period. This means that individuals with convictions related to conduct that would no longer be considered illegal after December 6, 2018, can now request the court to set aside their convictions. The absence of a waiting period and the absence of a limit on the number of expungements for marijuana convictions distinguish this rule from others.
When seeking an expungement for a marijuana conviction, the burden is on the prosecution to contest the request. Unlike objections for other convictions, the prosecution cannot cite the presence of additional convictions on the record but may argue that the conduct leading to the conviction remains illegal. For instance, if the initial charge was possession with intent to distribute but was later pleaded down to simple possession, the prosecution might contest the expungement on the grounds that the conduct was still illegal.
If the prosecution raises objections, a court hearing will be conducted to determine the validity of the expungement. Importantly, the new law establishes a rebuttable presumption that the conduct leading to marijuana-related offenses is no longer illegal. Therefore, the onus is on the prosecution to demonstrate why the individual does not qualify for expungement or why setting aside the conviction would be inappropriate. In cases where the prosecution does not file an answer, the court is obligated to grant the expungement request.
It’s crucial to note that individuals seeking expungement for marijuana convictions must file their requests with the convicting court. This implies that if multiple marijuana convictions exist across different counties, separate applications must be submitted to each respective county. Michigan’s Clean Slate law represents a significant step forward in recognizing the evolving legal landscape surrounding marijuana and providing individuals with a pathway to a clean record.