Even after an individual has served a sentence for a cannabis conviction, the resulting mark on their record can hinder future opportunities for housing, employment, education, public assistance, and voting rights.
But with the spread of cannabis legalization across the United States, there is a growing movement to expunge past convictions and allow people to move forward with their lives.
The second annual National Expungement Week (NEW) 2019 will take place from September 21-28 in 30 cities across the country, led by Equity First Alliance, Cage-Free Repair, and a coalition of more than three dozen organizations involved in the cannabis industry and matters of racial equity and reparative justice.
“Too many people are locked up in this country, and far too many people are still locked out of society long after they’ve completed their sentence,” said Cage-Free Repair Director of Programs Torie Marshall in a press release. “This week offers a way to provide legal relief and wraparound services to justice-impacted people and their families while calling for automated expungement.”
There are more than 40 events scheduled to take place throughout the week in large cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Honolulu, Atlanta, and Boston as well as smaller cities like San Marcos, California and New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Expungement education workshops, complementary services, and free clinics on removing, sealing, or reclassifying eligible convictions from criminal records will be part of the week’s featured events.
The first NEW took place October 20-27 in 2018 and resulted in 298 people’s records being sealed and cleared and more than 400 people receiving employment resources, voter registration, and health screenings.
For those interested in hosting an event during NEW, a toolkit is provided on the official website.