Minnesota Holds First Marijuana Expungement Event
Minnesota recently saw its first expungement clinic. The event was designed to help some of the many people with minor marijuana related infractions on their records from back when the North Star State had not yet emerged from the dark days of cannabis prohibition, and you could not get a Minnesota Marijuana Card.
September 11, 2021: Justice Finally Comes for some Minnesotans
In a press release announcing the event, organizers shared some of their reasons for wanting to assist Minnesotans with leaving their marijuana convictions in the past.
"For decades, cannabis prohibition has been enforced unequally among people of different races and socioeconomic classes," said Dr. Kyle Kingsley in the release.
Kinsley is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goodness Growth Holdings, one of two companies licensed to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Minnesota.
“As cannabis is legalized in more and more states across the nation, there are far too many people whose lives are still being impacted by something that is decriminalized in most states, including Minnesota.” Kinsley continued. “Hosting expungement clinics such as this to help people clear simple cannabis charges is an important priority for our organization and a major step toward overcoming the injustices of cannabis prohibition.”
To that end, the company held the event at their downtown Minneapolis dispensary on September 11, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
So How Does Expungement Work?
Some non-violent, simple cannabis convictions can be expunged and vacated under Minnesota law, but the process requires several steps and can be complicated for laypeople to follow. The process can be completed at any Minnesota courthouse, but it can take months or even longer for those unfamiliar with the process to navigate it.
At the expungement event, attorneys and law students were available pro bono to discuss the process with interested Minnesotans and review individual cases to determine eligibility for expungement.
Interested, qualified candidates for expungement were then taken through the process and given step-by-step directions on gathering the necessary records and filing the needed paperwork.
Do You Qualify for Expungement?
If you have a marijuana conviction on your record, you may well qualify for expungement.
Anyone who is not currently in violation of any probation related to a past non-violent misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor conviction is eligible for expungement, according to KMSP, Minneapolis’ Fox affiliate.
“There are over 53,000 Minnesotans spanning a time of about 20 years, starting in 1998, that were convicted of simple, non-violent cannabis convictions and our hope is to help a number of those tomorrow at our clinic,” said Amber Shimpa, one of the event organizers, in the company press release.
Expungement Can Make All the Difference in a Person’s Life
“There was a couple of jobs that I would have gotten the job if I didn’t have that charge on it,'' Carlos Diaz, of Phoenix, Arizona, told KMSP when speaking about his own problems with an un-expunged criminal record. Diaz, who attended an expungement clinic in Phoenix in April, continued “I mean even though it’s a misdemeanor, it still shows up as marijuana.”
Professor Jon Geffen, director of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Reentry Clinic, told KMSP that it was essential to help people move past their crimes that are no longer crimes.
“With the liberalization of laws, medical marijuana, what might soon be recreational marijuana, it’s imperative people get these things off,” Geffen said.
Geffen was on hand at the clinic on the 11th with some of his students, offering assistance to clinic attendees.
“Expungement is a great remedy,” said Geffen. “It seals it. It doesn't delete it, but it really makes it go away for all those employment and landlord purposes. It's a good remedy.”
Acknowledging the injustice of Minnesotans being haunted for crimes that are no longer crimes, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted his support for the event the day before.
"We need to continue pressing for legalization and expungement under State law. Until then, efforts like these are laying important groundwork," Frey wrote.
No Need to Worry About Your Record if You Have a Minnesota Marijuana Card
Fortunately, while some kind volunteers are helping people overcome their “criminal” pasts, you won’t need such services in the future if you have a Minnesota Marijuana Card.
If you have one of the qualifying conditions recognized by state law, you could finally get your card and enjoy safe, natural relief with medical marijuana, and you wouldn’t have to worry about landing on the wrong side of the law.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as we’re cleared to do so.
You’ll meet with your doctor virtually using a smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. From the safety and convenience of your own home, you’ll discuss your condition and what medical marijuana might be able to do for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
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If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6671, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
And don’t forget to check out Minnesota Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.