Cannabis Expungement Education & Outreach
May 3, 2023 - Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) is seeking proposals from experienced media companies to manage an education and outreach campaign focused on the new cannabis laws in Maryland, particularly concerning the expungement of criminal records. The campaign will educate the public, legal, social service, and community-based organizations. It will engage audience participation in efforts and practices that allow them to take advantage of the new cannabis expungement laws. Read the full Request for Proposals (RFP).
With the legalization of the adult use and possession of cannabis, the Maryland General Assembly appropriated $2.5 million to Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) for programs and proposals to educate individuals on changes to cannabis and expungement laws and support expungement efforts. The Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) received $815,000 to be used for this project in partnership with seven other organizations. All work will be done as a coordinated, collaborative effort among Maryland's legal services agencies. With our shared knowledge and experience, we can deliver effective expungement services to clients across the State. Together our goal is to measurably increase knowledge and "change the behavior" of the targeted communities concerning the new cannabis laws and cannabis expungement laws.
Each organization will have a slightly different focus, though all the programs will conduct community outreach and engagement. Allegany Law Foundation and Harford County Bar Foundation will create localized educational brochures, press releases, and advertisements and hire attorneys to provide expungements. FreeState Justice, Community Legal Services, and Mid-Shore Pro Bono will employ attorneys, and Maryland Legal Aid will use existing staff to provide direct representation and hold clinics. Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service will provide community navigators and a paralegal to provide outreach, presentations, intake, and case research. Community Legal Services of Prince George's County will focus on services for incarcerated individuals. As part of this coordinated effort, HPRP will contract a media agency to create educational and promotional materials for large-scale information and training around this initiative. Our work will include content creation and marketing for radio, TV, podcasts, social media, and other platforms. The education and outreach campaign aims to reach clients who may have been unable to access expungement services before by tapping into our existing networks of community partners. With a statewide coordinated approach, we will target libraries, community centers, government service agencies, and more to promote the expanded eligibility for expungement.