ROCKFORD (WREX) — Recreational cannabis will be legal for adult use, over the age of 21, in less than 6 months in Illinois. Once it is, that means thousands of people in the state will have possession convictions expunged.
“There is a process for expunging criminal records for people who have, in the past, been convicted of possession of cannabis,” says Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia Smith.
A bill waiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature proposes a complete expungement of marijuana possession convictions of 30 grams or less. Expungements will automatically be processed between the circuit clerk and state’s attorney’s office once the bill is signed. That process won’t happen all at once.
“So the first set of records that would be expunged are from 2013 going forward and the circuit clerk and state’s attorneys have 2 years to have that done,” Smith said.
After the first round of convictions have been expunged, convictions from between 2000 and 2013 will be addressed.
After that, circuit clerks and state’s attorneys will expunge records from before 2000. The expungement process could affect 3,200 people in Boone County and 770,000 people state-wide.
The bill does not include expungements of convictions regarding paraphernalia possession or possession of 30 grams or more.
With the new bill possession of cannabis under the age of 21 will also be strictly prohibited. Previously, minors caught with 10 grams or less would only be given a civil offense ticket, but now that loop hole will be closed and further action will take place.
Gov. Pritzker says he will sign the bill in to law. However, details of the bill could change until it’s officially signed.