Cleveland, Ohio, is speeding up the process to expunge records of low-level misdemeanor marijuana convictions after a state bill removed the mayor’s powers.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb Appointed at age 34 As the city’s first millennial mayor, he’s trying to reconnect with voters and do what they want: eradicate cannabis.
“I have spoken to many residents who have been unable to get a job, have been unable to access student loans, and have been unable to qualify for housing. Many of them stem from issues such as: Low-level marijuana convictions,” Bibb said.
Grants covering application fees and removal clinics are being rolled out to enable removal. “We knew we would face an uphill battle in the legal system,” he said.
Bibb also supported Senate Bill 288, which was signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last January. The bill removes the barriers that have previously impeded Mr. Bibb’s attempts to expunge records more quickly, allowing the City of Cleveland to do so.
“We are trying to fight for the people,” Bibb said.
With SB 288 approved, Bibb and the City are now free to take further action. The Bibb administration is working to notify subjects with cannabis conviction records. The city will then use a $10,000 grant to file complaints on their behalf to help pay for filing fees related to expungements and record sealings. The city is working with organizations to host eviction clinics where people can file lawsuits and end cases without going to court.
“Cities and counties now have legal standing to reverse these minor marijuana offenses across Ohio,” Bibb said.
Spectrum News 1 report Bibb’s actions were commended by the National Marijuana Law Reform Agency (NORML). “I saw the justice system firsthand after being arrested for simple possession in college,” said NORML program director Morgan Fox.
“The people there were nothing like me, even though they had the exact same legal background and accused me of the exact same crimes, resulting in higher fines, longer probation, and in some cases. I’ve seen even heavier penalties, jail time for simply possessing cannabis.”
Mr. Bibb’s aggressive actions are an example for other leaders to follow.
“I think Mayor Bibb has shown great leadership on this issue,” Fox said. “And you know, from a national perspective, I wish there were more people like him leading the initiation of these programs that directly impact the communities where they’re elected leaders. I think that
According to the Bibb administration, 838 people were removed as a result of the administration’s coordination with the Biden administration.Mayor announced He said he helped file more than 4,000 lawsuits on April 4 with the aim of sealing the record. “We will continue to spread the message that the city of Cleveland is ready to help move positively forward in the lives of its citizens,” Bibb said at the time.
The idea is to simplify the process. “We understand that the public does not always want to participate in the criminal justice system, and that the criminal justice system is not always user-friendly. Sometimes,” Chief Prosecutor Aquiela Jordan said. “As a city, we can do this on behalf of residents who have been adversely affected by historical inequalities.”