A coalition of social justice activists and their organizations are hosting a free expungement clinic on September 14th in Newark, New Jersey, where those convicted of non-violent cannabis crimes can gain insight and support on how to expunge their records.
The clinic, hosted by 420NJEvents, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time at the Doubletree by Hilton Penn Station Hotel in Newark. 420NJEvents, a Black-owned cannabis lifestyle brand, is joined by sponsors Columbia Care, Brach Eichler LLC, Apothecarium, REEForm New Jersey, and Minority Cannabis Academy, who are all intertwined in the fight for social justice in the cannabis industry. “Why should some people have their lives ruined, while others are getting rich in the industry?” said Brendon Robinson, Co-Founder & Vice President of 420NJEvents, according to High Times. “This clinic will give people an opportunity to have a life after cannabis,” he continued, speaking to the pervasive, harmful impacts of the failed War on Drugs on minority communities.
Robinson co-founded 420NJEvents with his childhood friend after having grown up together throughout the War on Drugs and years of bonding over two main things: cannabis and loyalty. According to their website, “420NJEvents was created to spread awareness & educate the community around the many benefits of the cannabis plant, as well as advocate for minorities impacted by the “War on Drugs.” With this upcoming expungement clinic, they’re certainly doing just that. “We promise to remain true to the culture, true to ourselves and provide you with all the up-to-date information that’ll help you navigate the cannabis industry!” the pair said about the event.
Charles X. Gormally, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler LLC, will be one of the pro-bono attorneys available at the clinic who attendees can go to for free advice on how to move forward expunging their cannabis records. “Marijuana laws have often disproportionately impacted communities of color. As New Jersey looks to establish its recreational marijuana market, there must be a focus on righting the societal wrongs that the prohibition of cannabis has created. We need more individuals, particularly Black and brown people, to understand the law and their rights, what it means, and how it can help them,” said Gormally. “As we’ve seen in our cannabis practice, the most important thing we can do is ensure equal access and transparency in the industry so that people can be involved in a fair way. It’s the right thing to do,” said Gormally’s Brach Eichler colleague, John D. Fanburg.
REEForm New Jersey, another one of the clinic’s sponsors, is a cannabis company that focuses on “provid[ing] financial support for those still incarcerated for cannabis offenses.” Recently, they launched an initiative that will send a portion of all of their sales directly into the commissary accounts of those incarcerated for non-violent cannabis crimes in the Garden State. Their involvement in this expungement clinic is right in line with the company’s other social justice work.
Like the other sponsoring organizations, the folks at Columbia Care, a multi-state cannabis cultivating business, feel it’s not just an option but rather a duty to participate in the fight for social justice in cannabis. “It’s our responsibility as leaders of this evolving industry to make social justice initiatives such as expungement a priority, especially ahead of adult-use sales and federal legalization. We’re thrilled to be partnering with like-minded organizations for this clinic and hopefully more to come,” said Ngiste Abebe, VP of Public Policy at Columbia Care.
This free event is a fantastic and timely opportunity for NJ residents with lingering cannabis convictions to start the journey of expunging their records. Thanks to the help of pro-bono attorneys, a social justice cannabis business, a cultivation operation giant, a cannabis academy for minorities, and an education-focused dispensary chain, those most affected by the War on Drugs in the general Newark area will soon be armed with the tools they need to get a fresh start and, if they choose, get their foot in the lucrative legal industry’s door.