First 11,017 Expungements for Cannabis Convictions Announced

By Benjamin Cox on December 31, 2019 at 11:00am

Governor J.B. Pritzker will announce 11,017 residents will have records expunged for low-level cannabis convictions today in Chicago ahead of adult-use cannabis legalization tomorrow.

Today’s 11,017 misdemeanor expungements involve Illinoisans in 92 counties will be marked in a ceremony by Pritzker at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side at 10AM.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act provides multiple avenues to expunge convictions and arrest records for minor cannabis offenses. Statewide, there are more than 700,000 records that will be eligible for relief because of the law, according to multiple sources.

Local law enforcement agencies and ISP will automatically expunge arrest records that did not result in a conviction up to 30 grams. This applies to arrests for possession, manufacture, delivery, and possession with intent to deliver. The arrests may not be associated with another arrest for a violent offense. Over a half million arrest records in the state are eligible for expungement.

There are three more waves of expungement expected to take place over the next 5 years, guided by the statutory timeline of the new law.

As a part of the War on Drugs, the adult use cannabis law also enacted the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, which aims to address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system related to convict low-level offenders and dealers. Portions of the listening area, including Jacksonville fall under the eligible areas in the state that encourage social equity applicants to apply for licensing to create an adult use cannabis facility.