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dir="ltr">State and local officials have begun righting “the mistakes of our past” as Illinois prepares for a legal recreational cannabis law to go into effect Jan. 1 that seeks to undo some of the harms caused by the War on Drugs.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Wednesday in Chicago to have a judge formally expunge 1,000 people's low-level cannabis possession convictions.
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“A criminal record carries with it more than stigma,” Pritzker said. “It prevents people from being considered for job opportunities, from getting a loan or a mortgage, from renting an apartment, from applying for financial aid for college, from getting a professional license and more. In sum, it can crush a person’s ability to live a full and dignified life.”
Those convicted in Illinois of possession of fewer than 30 grams of cannabis are currently under consideration by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board for expungement by the governor. That process is scheduled to come to fruition next year. Those convicted of violent crimes along with the possession charge are not eligible for expungement, regardless of the amount of cannabis involved.
Possession convictions of up to 500 grams are up to the purview of the local state’s attorney. Foxx is the first state’s attorney in Illinois to initiate the expungement process.
“We must actively work to play our part in reversing those harms,” she said.