One day before recreational cannabis is legalized in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 people with pot convictions.
The governor on Tuesday granted 11,017 pardons for people with low-level cannabis convictions that have “held them back from good jobs, housing and financial aid for college – as the state is poised to legalize cannabis Wednesday.”
The misdemeanor expungements include people from 92 Illinois counties, the governor’s office 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,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Every state that has legalized cannabis has seen high demand and long lines in its earliest weeks, and to be sure, our state will too. But unlike other states, in Illinois, we purposely built a system where the market has room to grow, so that entrepreneurs, including especially those from the communities devastated by the war on drugs, will have real opportunities in this industry.”
Additionally, more than 700,000 records will be eligible for “relief” under the new law statewide.