(WMBD) — With “4/20” underway, a common topic of the unofficial holiday is expungement.

Illinois is one of 18 states where cannabis sales are legal, but the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal on a national level.

However, as more and more people endorse legislation to make legalization a federal law, many are still being arrested on cannabis charges, and many still have past charges on their records.

According to a poll from CBS, two-thirds of Americans support legalization. The support is shared among a diverse population, but primarily younger Americans.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The bill, if made law, would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, and it would also eliminate penalties for previous marijuana-related charges.

In Peoria, the Wraparound Center hosts occasional free legal workshops, where individuals with a record for marijuana-related charges can get help with the expungement process.

The center is funded through the State of Illinois Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) Program. Located in Peoria’s Trewyn Middle School, revenue dollars from cannabis sales directly impact the 61605 area code.

“25% of the tax revenue on all cannabis sales in the State of Illinois must be reinvested back into black and brown communities in zip codes just like this one,” State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) previously told WMBD news. “As long as cannabis is sold, there will be specific dollars that go into our communities. It’s not reparations, but I call it a part of our reparations.” 

Attorney Yolanda Riley at the Wraparound Center said many with marijuana-related charges are suffering the effects of the country’s “War on Drugs.”

“Even though that happened decades ago, there’s still a residual effect,” Riley said.

The process to expunge a past charge can take a long time, Riley said, and such charges negatively affect one’s employment and housing opportunities.

Major brands, like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, used 4/20 to advocate for the MORE Act. According to its advocacy blog, in the U.S., Black people are 264% more likely to get arrested for possession than white people.

Additionally, the majority of executives in the cannabis industry are white.

Riley said it is often easier for white people to get their records expunged due to lower rates of prosecution, and the frequent ability to hire an attorney or private counsel.

“I think it’s one thing to have your records cleared, but to actually create a path where they can also be players in [the cannabis] field as well, I think, whatever those efforts look like, I think that would be beneficial,” Riley said.

Riley said expungement is a huge step in the right direction.

“It’s something that’s definitely needed,” Riley said. “The government needs to right these wrongs, especially as it relates to the War on Drugs. It’s never too late to right the wrongs of our country.”