Illinois is Expunging 770,000 Cannabis Convictions

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by Dan Larkin

Illinois is expunging cannabis convictions. That’s the other important headline that’s coming out of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature on a 610-page bill earlier this week.

In case you somehow missed it, Illinois officially became the 11th state to legalize adult use cannabis. Actual retail sales will begin on January 1, 2020.

That’s big news because Illinois is the 2nd largest state to legalize adult use cannabis. (California is the largest.) There are over 12.8 million residents in the state. And, that .8 million is significant because that’s equal to the number of cannabis convictions that will be expunged as a result of this new law.

What does “expunging cannabis convictions” mean?

That’s a good question. Here’s how Illinois defines it:

to “physically destroy the records or return them to the petitioner and to obliterate the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record, or both.”

Expungement- as defined in Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act

So, to explain it in layman’s language, it means that if you were ever arrested for cannabis in Illinois, you can let out a big sigh of relief. It appears that is the case for approximately 770, 000 Illinois (or former Illinois) residents.

This will also mean that since Illinois is expunging cannabis convictions, those people affected will now be able to apply for business licenses. That had been prohibited by Illinois state law, previously.

That social justice aspect of the new law also includes allocating $12.5 million to aid in the startup of cannabis businesses and funding for cannabis job training too.

Read more CannabisIRL coverage of Illinois’ new cannabis law here.

Original article appeared in

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