This is a big move for the state.
Marijuana reform continues to push forward. On New Year's Eve, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that almost half a million non-felony cannabis arrest records were to be expunged immediately. Also, thousands of low-level cannabis convictions were pardoned as well. The move fulfills a deadline set by Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed in 2019.
“Statewide, Illinoisans hold hundreds of thousands low-level cannabis-related records, a burden disproportionately shouldered by communities of color,” Pritzker declared in a statement. “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.”
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act required that “47,000 cannabis-related arrest records between 2013 and 2019 be expunged by Jan. 1, 2021.” While the state has met its standard, there are still several counties that must also work to meet their quota for overturning cannabis records.
“As we near the end of the first year of Illinois’ new legal cannabis industry, I am heartened by the progress we have made towards undoing the harms dealt by the failed war on drugs,” Toi Hutchinson, senior advisor to the governor for cannabis control, wrote in a statement. “We are one year into what will be an ongoing effort to correct historic wrongdoings. The administration remains committed to working with legislators to address any challenges to equity and on building an industry that re-invests in our state’s communities.”
The NBA also recently ended their marijuana drug testing policy.