On the eve of cannabis legalization in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker spoke at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s Far South Side. On New Year’s Eve, he took the opportunity to announce a kick-start to the lengthy drug war expungement process which awaits the state. Over 11,000 pardons for non-violent cannabis convictions, Pritzker said, were being sent to the attorney general’s office for expungement.
“We are ending the 50-year-long war on cannabis,” said Pritzker. “We are restoring rights to 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.”
But it’s only the beginning of what needs to be done in Illinois to expunge convictions for cannabis-related crimes that are no longer crimes. State officials have estimated that some 116,000 cannabis-related convictions that involved less than 30 grams of marijuana are eligible for automatic pardons. An additional 34,000 estimated cases involving more than 30 grams may be eligible for clearing by filing a court petition.
The state has also committed to expunging all arrests of underage people related to marijuana charges that did not result in a