An expungement briefing conducted by the Black & Brown Cannabis Guild in Michigan in September 2021. Credit: Instagram / Black & Brown Cannabis Guild

While Michigan’s legal cannabis industry expects to clear more than $2 billion in sales this year, a group of companies are attempting to give back with expungement information events to clear the records of individuals convicted of cannabis-related crimes prior to legalization.

Lume Cannabis Co. will host an expungement fair for Kalamazoo-area residents convicted under outdated cannabis laws 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 24, outside its Kalamazoo retail location. The fair is done in tandem with lawyers and criminal justice advocates to help promote the state’s “Clean Slate” law which passed in 2020. 

“Clean Slate” expands eligibility to Michiganders for an expungement by creating a new process which automatically seals certain non-violent conviction records if a person has not been convicted of a misdemeanor for seven years or a felony in 10 years. While adult use cannabis sales have been legal in Michigan since 2018, cannabis convictions were not automatically expunged and must be manually applied for by the offender.

Earlier this year, WellFlower held an expungement event in Ysplanti on May 1 and Common Citizen launched a community investment program in May which will issue $500,000 in grants to arts, culture initiatives, and law proceedings, including expungements.

“We are particularly interested in projects that enhance homeownership access, workforce development and entrepreneurship, and address key issues such as expungement for those still paying the price for violating outdated cannabis laws that are no longer on the books,” said Jessica Jackson, Common Citizen’s Director of External Affairs and Social Equity, back in May.

Doug McLaughlin-Williams, Lume’s West Area Manager and Jackson Store Manager, reports that 120 people have signed up for the event, and walk-ins are available as well. As it is the first expungement event held by the company, McLaughlin-Williams wants the expungement event in Kalamazoo to be a model for other Lume locations throughout the state. 

“It’s been a long time coming. It’s good that Lume is willing to move the needle, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” McLaughlin-Williams said. “ Hopefully we can pass down more information and generate interest to boost this going forward. Helping even a few people is still worth it.”

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Trey Arline is Grown In’s Midwest Reporter. He was most recently with the Daily Herald, but has also reported for Vegas PBS, The Nevada Independent, and the Associated Press.