Thousands of people who were convicted of low-level marijuana offenses in Illinois now have clean records to start the new year as part of the state’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (2019).
Recent Pardons and Expungements
On January 7, 2021, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued pardons for more than 9,100 low-level pot conviction records. The Illinois State Police also expunged over 492,000 marijuana-related arrests.
Additionally, officials in other Illinois counties have followed suit. For instance, over 1,600 people with low-level marijuana possession cases will have their records expunged and more than 11,000 cases will be eligible for automatic expungement under state law.
According to state law, approximately 47,000 pot-related arrests between 2013 and 2019 had to be expunged by Friday, January 8, 2021. Illinois counties have until January 2025 to expunge all eligible arrest records.
How the Law Works
Under the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, individuals who were arrested – but not convicted – of possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana qualify for automatic expungement.
The following are schedules for automatic expungement:
If the date on your criminal record is on or after January 1, 2013, and prior to January 1, 2020, your record should already be expunged.
If the date on your criminal record is either before January 1, 2013, or on or after January 1, 2020, your record will be expunged by January 1, 2023.
If the date on your criminal record is before January 1, 200, your record will be expunged by January 1, 2025.
If you were convicted of possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis, your record must pass a five-step inspection process before receiving automatic expungement: (1) a state police officer will review a criminal database and determine which records can be expunged under the new law, (2) a prison review board will figure out which records to recommend for a governor pardon, (3) the governor then approves or rejects the pardon, (4) the state’s attorney general has an opportunity to petition, and (5) then the police can expunge the record.
If you were convicted of possession of between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana, you may petition for expungement with the help of an experienced attorney. Once the paperwork is filed, the court will ultimately decide whether to grant an expungement.
If you were convicted of possession of more than 500 grams of cannabis, you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed. Keep in mind, sealing your record means that the public will not have access to it, rather than destroying the record like expungement.
If you or a loved one is interested in having your criminal record expunged or has been arrested for a drug crime in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Steven Fine today at (312) 436-0638 for a free consultation.