New Leaf Illinois, which launched in 2020, has since helped thousands of Illinoisans navigate their cannabis records or arrests.
New Leaf is a free legal aid hotline led by CARPLS, with help from nearly 20 nonprofits throughout the State.
"Carlton" decided to call New Leaf after receiving less than helpful feedback from his probation office.
"They wouldn’t assist me in answering even basic questions about expungement or any process related to it. I was very sad and disappointed, but I didn’t let it discourage my efforts to see my end goal come to fruition. I knew I just needed to keep searching, and I stumbled upon New Leaf Illinois."
At the time, the state had just implemented recreational cannabis for individuals over 21 and also started expunging records. Carlton knew he qualified after reading the bill, but needed help in starting the process.
After working with New Leaf, he was able to find a job with a local software company.
"They took a chance on me but did bring up my arrest and charges during the hiring process. I was fully transparent when I was hired, for which they were grateful. I did have trouble finding jobs before that. As a result of the successful expungement of my record, I was able to leverage experience and certifications to increase my overall salary at work without having the looming record hanging over my head."
Carlton wishes more people would use New Leaf.
"I have told everyone about New Leaf, what they offer, and how good my experience was. I would recommend New Leaf to anyone who needs help with expunging a cannabis related offense."
If anyone you know needs help from New Leaf, they can find more information at www.newleafillinois.org or at 855-963-9532.