Entrepreneurs Offer Cannabis Expungement Clinics

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Two cannabis entrepreneurs are offering help to Ohioans who want a marijuana conviction removed from their record.

Expungement clinics will be held in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland beginning at 11 a.m. on Feb. 16.

The clinics are free, but participants must register ahead of time on Eventbrite.

The organizers are Ally Reaves, the CEO of the nonprofit Cannabis Can! and founder/president of Midwest CannaWomen, and Nickole Ross, owner and COO of the Noohra Labs medical marijuana processor in Dayton.

“It’s important for us to support our communities by helping them clean up their records,” Ross said.

Reaves said she’s held expungement clinics before, most recently in November in Cleveland. Around 40 people attended, she said.

Marijuana is largely decriminalized in Ohio, and the legal consequences of a misdemeanor marijuana conviction are now comparable to a speeding ticket. But a conviction can still impact a person’s job or housing prospects.

Many employers, for example, require job applicants to agree to a drug test.

Efforts to eliminate penalties for a marijuana conviction or change the way marijuana laws are enforced have spread throughout Ohio cities in recent years. But thousands of Ohioans are still charged with misdemeanor possession every year.

“They have records that prevent them from participating in the cannabis industry and in life in general,” Ross said.

Someone with a marijuana conviction needs to apply for an expungement, and a judge ultimately decides whether or not to remove that conviction from their record.

Legal professionals will attend the clinics to walk participants through the process and offer advice on their applications.

Several cannabis companies also will talk to participants about jobs in the marijuana industry, Reaves said.

“We want to create opportunities for them,” she said.

The Columbus clinic will take place at the Cleveland School of Cannabis on Corporate Drive in the Northland area.

The York Street United Methodist Church is the site of the Cincinnati clinic, the Dayton Clinic will take place at the James A. Elam Hall, and the Cleveland Gallery in Downtown Cleveland will hold the northeast Ohio clinic.