Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Last Saturday a Minneapolis dispensary ran Minnesota’s first cannabis expungement clinic, working to clear the criminal records of 44 people with non-violent cannabis convictions.
Jon Geffen is Director of the Reentry Clinic at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and provided pro bono legal services along with his students. He says without expungement, people lose opportunities to live the lives they want.
“We had a nurse lose a job based on a cannabis related offense,” he said. “We had a lot of people denied housing based on low level cannabis offenses. In Minnesota, a small amount of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor, which is actually defined as not a crime. But you know, landlords, employers, they don’t know that. They don’t care.”
Vireo Health’s Director of Medical Education Dr. Paloma Lehfeldt co-organizes expungement clinics for medical marijuana dispensaries across several states, including for Green Goods Minneapolis.
“Being a member of this industry, it’s my responsibility and our responsibility as a company really, to, you know, right the wrongs caused by the so-called war on drugs,” she said.
Lehfeldt says the stigma against cannabis has its roots in efforts to demonize Mexican refugees in the early 1900s. She says people of color continue to be arrested at a much higher rate than their white counterparts.
“People think that drug prohibition and drug criminalization, especially of cannabis, has waned in the years, but it really hasn’t,” she said.
Last year, an ACLU report found that Black people in Minnesota are 5.4 times more likely to be arrested for weed possession, despite similar rates of use.
Photo Credit: Vireo Health
Subscribe to hear Daily Updates in your podcast feed
- Mpls Cop Charged in Death of Bystander While In PursuitHennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has charged Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings with second degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Leneal Frazier. (audio credit: KARE 11)
- Minnesotans Protest Police Brutality, BCAOn Friday community members gathered to observe the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality. They held a vigil outside of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Office in St. Paul to honor lives lost to police violence.
- Judge Reduces Sentence for Former Police Officer Mohammed NoorNoor was initially sentenced to 12.5 years for the 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who he shot and killed while responding to her 911 call. His sentence was reduced to four years and nine months.
- Indigenous Activists Take Line 3 Fight to the United NationsThe U.N. has demanded the U.S. respond to allegations of Indigenous rights violations related to the pipeline construction. Tiffany Bui reports.