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Happy New Year! Over 11,000 Pardoned for Cannabis Crimes as Illinois Legalizes Marijuana

Posted by on January 4, 2020 in Government, Politics with 0 Comments

Image Credit: Waking Times

By Elias Marat | The Mind Unleashed

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday granted over 11,000 pardons to people convicted of low-level marijuana convictions in a move impacting residents from 92 counties across the state.

The 11,017 pardons come just ahead of the state comprehensively legalizing cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. The state will become the 11th to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for any adults over the age of 21.

The Hill reports that the pardons were announced at a church on the south side of Chicago, where Pritzker noted that marijuana convictions had held people back from decent housing, good jobs, and financial aid for college.

There are over 700,000 records across Illinois that will be eligible for relief because of the law, including 116,000 convictions for possession of up to 30 grams not associated with a violent offense eligible for expungement.

In a statement, Pritzker said:

“Tomorrow when adult-use cannabis becomes legal, pay attention to the fact that we are beginning to accomplish four very important things: We are ending the 50-year long war on cannabis.

 

We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core.”

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides a number of different avenues to expunge convictions and arrest records for minor cannabis offenses.

The law has also been hailed by advocates for its various social justice provisions meant to undo the damage done against those who have run afoul of the state’s past prohibitionist policies, especially those belonging to low-income communities of color.

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