Nearly 500K Illinois marijuana arrest records expunged; pardons issued for over 9K low-level convictions

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Friday, January 1, 2021
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Gov. Pritzker's office announced Thursday that nearly 500,000 marijuana-related Illinois arrest records were expunged.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In the final hours of 2020, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that about a half million marijuana convictions have been pardoned or wiped from the records in Illinois.

That forgiveness is part of the state law that legalized pot sales last year.

Over 9,200 low-level marijuana convictions have been pardoned.

More than 490,000 marijuana-related convictions are now removed from arrest records.

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The announcement comes four years in advance of the deadline set in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

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"Statewide, Illinoisans hold hundreds of thousands low-level cannabis-related records, a burden disproportionately shouldered by communities of color," Pritzker said. "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."

The CRTA requires cannabis-related arrest records created between 2013 and 2019 be expunged by Jan. 1, 2021, a total of 47,000 records, Pritzker's office said Thursday.

While the expungement process has been completed at the state level, county clerks are still processing expungements at the local level. Arrest records from DuPage, Kane, Knox, Lake, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Rock Island, Will, and Winnebago Counties have been expunged at the local level. The remaining counties have until Jan. 1, 2025 to expunge their arrest records, the governor's office said.