CHICAGO (WEEK) -- On the day before recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker announced he has pardoned thousands with low-level cannabis convictions.
In all, Pritzker said in a release, 11,017 misdemeanor expungements were granted Tuesday.
Due to the passing of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, over 700,000 records will be eligible for expungement for those with minor cannabis offenses.
In all of Illinois, 116,000 records for those convicted of possession of up 30 grams are eligible for expungement.
The Illinois State Police identified all eligible convictions and forwarded those records to the Prisoner Review Board. After PRB verifies the accuracy of the conviction records, the PRB forwards them to the governor for pardon consideration. Following the gubernatorial pardons, the PRB will forward the documents to the Attorney General’s Office, which will file petitions in the circuit courts to expunge the records.
For those with convictions of possession of 30 to 500 grams, motions to vacate can be filed. There are an estimated 34,000 records eligible in this category.
“Tomorrow when adult-use cannabis becomes legal, pay attention to the fact that we are beginning to accomplish four very important things: We are ending the 50-year long war on cannabis. We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Every state that has legalized cannabis has seen high demand and long lines in its earliest weeks, and to be sure, our state will too. But unlike other states, in Illinois, we purposely built a system where the market has room to grow, so that entrepreneurs, including especially those from the communities devastated by the war on drugs, will have real opportunities in this industry.”