The Crusader Newspaper Group

Turn Over a New Leaf this Spring: Expunge Your Cannabis Record

With 2022 in full swing, New Leaf Illinois will continue its efforts to expunge cannabis records for Illinoisans across the state. Last year, New Leaf provided services to residents in more than 60% of Illinois counties – helping people of all demographics get a fresh start by removing barriers to employment, education, housing and more. New Leaf Illinois launched in November 2020, and last year was its first full year serving Illinois.

“Our 2021 work shows a strong baseline for growth and expansion, but we know there are many more people eligible,” said Beth Johnson, an attorney and Project Manager for New Leaf Illinois with the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation. “We’re eager to continue our outreach efforts and increase our impact.”

New Leaf Illinois will continue to offer free cannabis expungement services to the estimated 34,000 Illinoisans with records that were not automatically cleared after the state’s legalization of cannabis. With a network of 20 legal aid and advocacy organizations across the state, New Leaf is committed to overturning past cannabis convictions which disproportionately impacted Black and Latino communities. 

“In 2022, our goal is to help as many folks as we can to expunge their past cannabis records,” said Johnson. “For those who are confused about whether their record has been automatically cleared or not, or whether they are eligible, please reach out to New Leaf — we can help you navigate the process.” 

New Leaf helps people determine their eligibility for relief through an easy-to-use online registration portal or via phone at (855) 963-9532. Legal aid organizations within the New Leaf Illinois network provide free services in every region in Illinois. 

New Leaf Illinois is a five-year pilot program developed by the nonprofit Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF). New Leaf Illinois is funded through an appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly as part of the State’s commitment after legalizing cannabis to repair the harm caused to communities by decades of over-criminalization.



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