Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service Receives Over $540K To Help Expunge Criminal Records Related To Cannabis Charges

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), a statewide provider of free legal services to low-income Marylanders, will receive a $542,775 grant from Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) to implement a statewide outreach, education and referral network to help expunge the criminal records of Marylanders charged with cannabis-related violations. A constitutional amendment that authorizes the adult use and possession of cannabis in Maryland goes into effect July 1, 2023.

MVLS’ funding is part of a $2.5 million grant awarded to eight legal services providers in the state. The Maryland General Assembly appropriated the one-time funding to MLSC to distribute to its grantees to educate individuals on changes to cannabis and expungement laws and support expungement efforts between April 2023 and June 2024.

“We welcome this change in the law that will further reduce employment barriers for many Marylanders and appreciate the General Assembly’s recognition that education, outreach and legal assistance play critical roles in stabilizing communities,” stated MVLS executive director Susan Francis. “MVLS looks forward to working with the seven other grantees to quickly launch a unified and comprehensive initiative to remove the charges from individuals’ records and give them a second chance.”

MVLS will work with Allegany Law Foundation, Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, FreeState Justice, Harford County Bar Foundation, Homeless Persons Representation Project, Maryland Legal Aid and MidShore Pro Bono on public awareness and direct mailing campaigns, free legal clinics and increased staffing.

Marylanders with cannabis-related charges can visit to check their eligibility and apply for services.

Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference Is Back

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Photo: Benzinga edit with photos by Matthias Zomer on Pexels, squarefrog on Pixabay

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