The Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition (CEIC) was formed in 2019 to ensure the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs have an equal seat at the table as adult-use cannabis legalization is implemented in Illinois.
Since its founding, the community-led CEIC has focused its advocacy on expanding expungement of cannabis-related criminal records, increasing state funding for impacted communities, and ensuring legitimate access to the cannabis industry for impacted entrepreneurs.
To achieve their mission, the CEIC partners with legal aid organizations across Illinois and hosts community events such as RAP Sheet Assistance Days and National Expungement Week to educate individuals about cannabis policies and the expungement process, as well as to connect them directly with an expungement attorney, all at no cost to the individuals. The CEIC also advocates for the use of technology to support the expungement process, enabling the expansion of automatic expungement to ensure that anyone with a criminal record can access record-clearing resources promptly using a computer.
Beyond expungement, the CEIC organizes Reentry Resource Fairs to connect reentering citizens with direct services such as housing, food assistance, ID services, public benefits registration, and more.
The CEIC also plays a large role in ensuring the cannabis industry in Illinois becomes more equitable, including the development of the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), which encourages existing cannabis operators to do their fair share to support communities impacted by prohibition.
The Good Green grant will help support CEIC’s continued focus areas to provide continuity of legal aid, expand the organization to southern Illinois, and advocate for further cannabis policy changes that promote repair and reinvest in the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.