Walz Appoints Cannabis Expungement Director

Walz Appoints Cannabis Expungement Director

Image: Tim Walz

Press Release
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

Governor Walz Appoints James Rowader as Executive Director of Cannabis Expungement Board


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the appointment of James Rowader as executive director of the Cannabis Expungement Board. Rowader will start as executive director on March 25.

“I’m proud to appoint James Rowader as executive director of the Cannabis Expungement Board,” said Governor Walz. “The board will play a critical role in addressing and reducing disparities in our criminal justice system. Rowader has demonstrated leadership and legal talent across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and I’m confident in his ability to lead this work.”

“I’m excited that James Rowader will lead the state’s work to expunge cannabis convictions,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “With his leadership, we will work to bring justice to Minnesotans and eliminate disparities that have carried on for far too long.”

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed by Governor Walz as the Executive Director of the Cannabis Expungement Board,” said James Rowader. “Throughout my career, I have been focused on supporting efforts to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the employment space and criminal justice system. I am truly excited to apply my leadership experiences and continue to do meaningful and impactful work to address these disparities as the inaugural leader of this important organization dedicated to the review of cannabis felonies for expungement or resentencing. I am thankful to the Governor for this unique and important opportunity.”

About James Rowader

James Rowader is the director of people and culture for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN). He previously served as the city attorney for the City of Minneapolis. Prior to public service, Rowader spent the bulk of his career with Target Corporation, rising to vice president and general counsel for employee and labor relations. Rowader has served on the boards of the Minnesota Justice Research Center, Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, ACLU-MN, and the Minnesota United Soccer Association. He earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois and J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.   

About the Cannabis Expungement Board

The Cannabis Expungement Board was created to review eligible felony and misdemeanor-level cannabis-related conviction or stay of adjudication records and determine eligibility for expungement or resentencing.

More information about Cannabis Expungement Board can be found here.
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