Volunteers from the Fresno County Public Defender's Office will be available at the clinic to provide free legal assistance to Fresno residents with drug-related criminal records, including Prop 64 and Prop 47

Press Release updated: Jun 28, 2019 09:00 PDT

FRESNO, Calif., June 28, 2019 – ​Element 7 and The Fresno County Public Defender’s OfficeNDICA (National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance) will host a free expungement clinic on Saturday, June 29—paving the way for Fresno residents with minor drug-related criminal records to enter the legal and licensed cannabis industry to gain meaningful employment. 

Organized by NDICA’s Fresno Chapter, headed by JePahl White and hosted by Element 7, a cannabis company with a focus on education and local engagement, this clinic is part of the much-needed reparative justice for the harms of cannabis prohibition and will be the Fresno Public Defender's first expungement clinic, in partnership with NDICA, at the national and local level. 

Volunteers from the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office will be available at the clinic to provide free legal assistance to Fresno residents with drug-related criminal records, including Prop 64 and Prop 47. Public defenders will also be available to begin the process of full expungements for residents with more serious criminal records. 

Additional organizations offering services at the clinic include Fresno State’s Rebound Program, All of Us or None, Building Healthy Communities, Faith In the Valle, Barrios Unidos and the Democratic Party.

Details of the clinic can be found on Eventbrite and below:

  • Date:            June 29, 2019

  • Time:            10 a.m.-4 p.m. PT

  • Location:        The Big Red Church / First Congregational Church 

  • Address:        2131 N. Van Ness Blvd, Fresno, CA 93704 (Map)

Carmen Romero, an attorney with the Fresno Public Defenders Office Clean Slate Program said, “We encourage the community to come to take advantage of the opportunity to clear their criminal convictions and begin to overcome the obstacles to better jobs, housing and other benefits.” 

Despite Prop 64 allowing for the ability to expunge cannabis-related crimes, many in the Central Valley have not taken advantage of this opportunity due to a lack of awareness, resulting in only 89 expungements thus far—one of the lowest per-capita expungement rates in California.  

“Social Equity and Social Justice go hand-in-hand, and expungements are life-changing,” said Bonita (Bo) Money, founder and executive director of NDICA said. “This clinic is the first step to moving forward for Fresno residents affected by the War on Drugs. There are enormous barriers to entry for folks with felonies seeking employment, housing, student loans and occupational licensing. These folks are still banned from working in the hemp industry. NDICA is grateful to the Fresno Public Defenders office and Element 7 for this much-needed, collaborative effort.” 

“We see expungement as a tremendous opportunity to create meaningful change at a very micro level within the community,” said Lynne Lyman, former California State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance and Element 7 strategic advisor. “Fresno—with its fertile land, ample sunshine, California location, and relatively low cost—​can become a major leader of the cannabis and hemp market, creating thousands of new jobs.” 

Robert DiVito, founder and CEO of Element 7, added, “We see diversity as a competitive advantage for Element 7. It is absolutely critical that the cannabis industry is reflective of its enthusiasts and brings people from all backgrounds, ages, cultures and genders together so that we can collectively shape the cannabis industry in the best way possible. We hope this clinic serves as a step toward helping Fresno residents contribute to the cannabis industry and rights the wrongs they’ve faced.”

About Element 7 

Element 7 is a holistic wellness cannabis retail company that focuses on creating change through information, education, and continuous community engagement. Formed in 2018 in response to a rapidly changing cannabis retail market, Element 7 is focused on retail operations across the State of California and has over a dozen projects in active development. Element 7 stimulates economic development at a micro level, aligning with local influencers that can create impact and policy change. Its business is backed by insight, data, flexible business models and community engagement that creates dialogue, understanding and change through education. 

www.element7.co

About NDICA 

The National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to create an ethical and equitable cannabis industry to reduce barriers contributing to the lack of representation of those most impacted by the War on Drugs, including people of color and other marginalized community members. http://thendica.org

Source: Element 7

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