Criminal Justice

This state is set to expunge nearly 800,000 marijuana convictions in 2020

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Illinois residents will automatically receive clemency for convictions of up to 30 grams of cannabis after a new state law goes into effect in 2020.

The Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week, makes cannabis legal for people age 21 and older and offers relief to the nearly 770,000 residents with marijuana-related offenses on their criminal records. CNN, USA Today and HuffPost have coverage.

Under the bill, residents convicted with 30 to 500 grams of marijuana can petition a court to lift the charge. It also includes a “social equity” program that will help residents with marijuana-related convictions apply for and receive business licenses.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who co-sponsored the bill, said earlier this year “the most historic aspect of this is not just that it legalizes cannabis for adults but rather the extraordinary efforts it takes to reduce the harm caused by the failed war on marijuana and the communities it hurt the most,” HuffPost reports.

Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana and the latest to provide clemency for marijuana convictions, CNN reports. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that offered similar relief to offenders in May.

The Illinois law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Drug crimes prosecutions could be taking a back seat as the DOJ focuses on unlawful entry”

ABA Journal: “Marijuana businesses legalized by states could face federal prosecution under new DOJ policy”

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