LANSING — State Rep. Sylvia Santana, Democratic vice chair of the House Appropriations Corrections Subcommittee, introduced a plan to require the Michigan Parole Board to release individuals who are currently incarcerated for certain marijuana-related offenses. With the recent passage of Proposal 1, some Michiganders will remain in jail for conduct that is no longer illegal. This proposal seeks to fill the gap.
“The people of Michigan made their voices heard, and now we have to make sure this new law is executed efficiently, safely and justly,” said Rep. Santana. “There is no justice in allowing men and women to continually be punished for an action that is now decriminalized. The victims of the war on drugs have been neglected long enough.”
The opinions and feelings toward marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal, have been changing steadily in the last decade. Now that Michigan has joined several other states in fully legalizing its use, the next step is to address those who are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses related to its usage.
“Nine percent of all arrests in Michigan can be attributed to marijuana possession, which means thousands of Michiganders are incarcerated for behavior the people of Michigan will now be able to engage in freely,” said Rep. Santana. “These people were ripped away from their communities and locked up for committing a crime that no longer exists. It is time to start repairing the wounds that have been caused by giving these people their freedom back.”