MLSC Awards $2.5 Million in Grants for Cannabis Expungement Services
With the ratification of a constitutional amendment authorizing adult use and possession of cannabis, the Maryland General Assembly appropriated $2.5 million to MLSC to educate individuals on changes to cannabis and expungement laws and support expungement efforts. MLSC is pleased to have awarded funding to eight civil legal aid organizations, each with a history of providing expungement services, who have created a collaborative plan to ensure coverage of services across the entire state of Maryland.
The grantees will provide a wide range of services, including know-your-rights presentations, expungement clinics and other full-service expungement services, with services provided by staff, pro bono and low bono attorneys. The providers will also create outreach and education materials that will be available for use beyond the grant period, extending the impact of this funding.
“Expungement work, including for cannabis-related charges, has been a fundamental part of Maryland’s civil legal aid delivery system for many years. With upcoming changes in the law, it is vital that Maryland residents learn about new options available to them and receive assistance submit appropriate expungement filings,” said Deb Seltzer, MLSC’s executive director. “Expungements can remove barriers to employment, housing, education and more, and we are grateful the Maryland General Assembly recognized the importance of civil legal aid and dedicated this important funding.”
“We are especially thrilled about the collaborative nature of this project, with our grantees working together and with community partners to reach Marylanders across the state, especially those who may not have traditionally accessed civil legal assistance in the past,” said Seltzer.
Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
- Allegany Law Foundation
- Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County
- FreeState Justice
- Harford County Bar Foundation
- Homeless Persons Representation Project
- Maryland Legal Aid
- Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
- Mid-Shore Pro Bono
The mission of Maryland Legal Services Corporation is to ensure low-income Marylanders have access to stable, efficient and effective civil legal assistance through the distribution of funds to nonprofit legal services organizations. Since the Maryland General Assembly established the organization in 1982, MLSC has made grants totaling over $376 million to help provide services in more than 4 million legal matters concerning family, housing, employment and other civil legal issues.