EBP Conference 2021 Session 11

Cannabis Legalization in Illinois and Opportunities for Expungement

Thursday 8/12/2021 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CST

In 2019, the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act was signed into law. In addition to decriminalizing possession of marijuana, the Act has been heralded as the most equity-centric legislation in the country because it creates a process to expunge past cannabis convictions. This workshop is designed for people with mental illnesses, as well as mental health professionals. The presentation will include information about (1) an overview of the new law; (2) how to expunge cannabis criminal records; (3) how the law impacts other laws including disability, employment, housing, and immigration; (4) employment opportunities in the cannabis industry, and (5) free legal resources for expungement.

Presented by:

Barry Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation - Equip for Equality

Barry Taylor is the Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality, where has worked since 1996. At Equip for Equality, he has overseen many individual and systemic disability discrimination cases including successful federal ADA lawsuits. Barry has given numerous presentations on the ADA across the country to people with disabilities, family members, attorneys, employers, businesses, service providers and advocacy organizations. Barry has served as the Chairperson of the Disability Rights Consortium, Chairperson of the Regional Transit Authority's ADA Advisory Committee; Chairperson of Season of Concern, Chairperson of the Legal Committee for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association's Legal Aid Committee, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association's Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, and Co-Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Pro Bono Week. He has been an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School, and in 2001, Chicago Lawyer Magazine named him one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch." Prior to coming to Equip for Equality, Barry was the AIDS Project Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal working to advance the civil rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. From 1988 - 1993, Barry was a litigation associate at the Chicago law firm of Peterson & Ross. He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he also received his undergraduate degree in 1985.

Kelsey Burgess, Staff Attorney - Equip for Equality

Kelsey Burgess is a staff attorney at Equip for Equality and manages a project to assist people with disabilities who have been incarcerated and are facing addressing barriers when re-entering society. Prior to coming to EFE, Kelsey was a staff attorney at Lawndale Christian Legal Services representing youth and emerging adults residing in the North Lawndale and Englewood communities charged with felonies in adult and juvenile courts. She has also served as an Assistant Public Defender for the DuPage County Public Defender's Office, a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society - Criminal Defense Practice in Queens NY. Kelsey received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and her law degree from City University of New York School of Law.

Annie Gallerano, Staff Attorney - Equip for Equality

Annie Gallerano is a staff attorney at Equip for Equality. She focuses on two major issues: employment rights of people with disabilities and expungement of criminal records for people with disabilities. Prior to coming to EFE, Annie worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Human Rights Initiative and an extern for the Federal Judge Jane Boyle. Annie received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.