Prairie State Legal Services is a founding member and partner of New Leaf Illinois, a new network of 20 non-profit organizations throughout the state who are providing free legal representation and other resources to help qualifying individuals seeking to expunge cannabis convictions from their records. New Leaf Illinois was made possible by specific funding requirements of the 2019 Illinois cannabis legalization law.

New Leaf Illinois is committed to equal justice for all those who were previously arrested or convicted for cannabis use, production, and sale. Expungement (meaning an applicant’s arrest, charge or criminal conviction cannot be viewed by the public) is one step toward repairing the damage caused by the war on drugs which unfairly impacted people of color and the economically disenfranchised. That includes greatly improving applicants’ chances of getting hired, improving their education, seeking public assistance and acquiring rental housing.

“Expungements through the New Leaf program provide protection for individuals facing housing or job discrimination based on old cannabis records,” said Lacy Burpee, R2W Program Coordinator and Staff Attorney at Prairie State’s Waukegan office. “A criminal record can follow someone for life. New Leaf provides individuals with cannabis records a way to move beyond their past and into their future.”

Those seeking help from New Leaf Illinois may register online at www.NewLeafIllinois.org.

or call (855) 963-9532. A legal aid professional will evaluate the applicant’s eligibility and get in touch with them to discuss potential next steps. Depending on eligibility and needs, services can include free legal information, self-help instruction, document review and preparation, legal consultation, and if available, referrals to a network of legal aid and pro bono attorneys for in-court representation.

If you or someone you know could benefit from getting a cannabis record expunged, visit www.NewLeafIllinois.org.