Over 9,200 residents with minor, low-level cannabis convictions have been pardoned. A further 492,000 with non-felony cannabis arrests have had their records wiped clean by the Illinois State Police (ISP).
An estimated 270,000 residents may also be eligible for expungement in the future.
Currently, DuPage, Kane, Knox, Lake, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Rock Island, Will, and Winnebago counties have expunged arrest records. All other remaining counties must do the same by January 2025.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), blacks in Illinois were seven times more likely to be arrested for cannabis use and possession before statewide legalization.
“Statewide, Illinoisans hold hundreds of thousands low-level cannabis-related records, a burden disproportionately shouldered by communities of color,” he said at a press conference.
“We will never be able to fully remedy the depth of that damage. But we can govern with the courage to admit the mistakes of our past—and the decency to set a better path forward. I applaud the Prisoner Review Board, the Illinois State Police, and our partners across the state for their extraordinary efforts that allowed these pardons and expungements to become a reality”, he added.
The bill was praised by stature officials, cannabis advocates, and Illinois citizens alike.
Adults over the age of 21 are allowed to purchase, possess, and use cannabis. Must be consumed in a private dwelling. Public consumption is strictly prohibited and may result in criminal charges.
Limitations on purchases apply. Residents are allowed to buy thirty grams (roughly one ounce) of dried cannabis flower and 500 mg of THC-infused edibles. Non-residents can purchase and possess half these amounts.
Cannabis in Illinois can only be purchased at state-licensed dispensaries. The costs of opening a dispensary are high. The application fee is $30,000 and a combined $200,000 for a cannabis business development fund and social equity options. Individual cities and municipalities have the power to allow or prohibit the sale of cannabis.