With Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx facing a contested Democratic primary next year, she is increasing her public appearances, interweaving official business with a campaign message.
On Chicago’s West Side Tuesday, Foxx explained the changes coming to the county on Jan. 1 as recreational marijuana becomes legal in the state of Illinois.
The first step in that process is already underway, as the State’s Attorney’s office prepares to expunge prior marijuana convictions from the records of thousands of people.
“For many people, a prosecutor saying ‘hey, I’m doing something for you’ may strike them as odd, as we recognize that some of our strongest partners will be faith leaders and community-based leaders,” she said.
Foxx sees a huge opportunity for those whose records will be cleansed of prior arrests for possessing under 30 grams of marijuana.
“The door is unlocked with the ability to get a job, get housing, or to get an education,” she said.
Some community leaders also see an opportunity where previously there had been penalty, as portions of the new cannabis bill will direct funds to minority-owned businesses, helping a community disproportionally affected by previous drug laws.
“We’ve been penalized, and now there’s an opportunity for us to reap some of the benefits of this lucrative market,” Rev. Ira Acree said.
The renewed focus on criminal justice reform issues comes even as Foxx’s office remains under investigation for its handling of the Jussie Smollett case, but the State’s Attorney remains focused on moving forward after the high-profile decision to drop charges against the actor.
“In our office, we’ve aspired to be the most transparent office in the country,” she said.
Foxx will face at least two candidates who will run against her in the Democratic primary on March 17.