Element 7 created history in 2019 when it hosted Fresno’s first ever Expungement Clinic with the Fresno Public Defender. The Expungement Clinic, held in partnership with the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office, NDICA (National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance), and Element 7, paves the way for Fresno residents with minor drug related criminal records to enter the legal and licensed cannabis industry to gain meaningful employment, or as owners and investors.
Repairing Damaged Communities
Expungement clinics are part of the much needed reparative justice for the harms of cannabis prohibition, which targeted people of color and from marginalized communities. Volunteers from the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office were available at the Clinic to provide free legal assistance to Fresno residents with drug related criminal records, including Prop 64 and Prop 47. In the previous 2 years, the Public Defender had only expunged the records of 89 persons. In a single day we expunged 120 records! In addition, we handed out over 100 food bags, helped 40 people sign up to vote, and assisted 30 families to received food Stamps.
Carmen Romero, attorney with the Fresno Public Defenders Office Clean Slate Program said, “We encourage the community to come take advantage of the opportunity to clear their criminal convictions and begin the overcome the obstacles to better jobs, housing and other benefits.” This was the Fresno Public Defenders first expungement clinic in partnership with NDICA and Element 7 at the national and local level.