The McHenry County state’s attorney’s office has expunged more than a thousand low-level pot convictions for offenses now considered legal in Illinois.
State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally announced Monday that he filed a motion to vacate or expunge misdemeanor cannabis delivery convictions for 1,877 people, the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
Kenneally said his office filed the motion as required by Illinois’ new pot law, which orders state’s attorneys and other authorities to identify and expunge certain cannabis convictions.
In his statement, Kenneally said his office still finds the legalization of marijuana “to be deeply flawed and unwarranted, a serious public health risk, and a safety risk that will undoubtedly result in more deaths on our roadways.”
But, he added, “we do not necessarily object to expunging a defendant’s minor criminal convictions after a reasonable period of time.”
Kenneally said a McHenry County judge has already signed the order and allowed the expungements, and that defendants will be notified by mail.
The automatic expungements do not apply to felony convictions — including Class 4 felonies involving 30 grams of cannabis or less — which is the same amount now legal to possess.
Illinois’ new pot law — the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act — was enacted Jan. 1 and allows adults 21 and over to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis flower.
On Dec. 30, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced pardons for more than 11,000 low-level pot offenses state-wide, allowing state agencies and local law enforcement to expunge the records.
Officials estimate 800,000 records across the state could be cleared as part of the legalization law.
Pritzker said the pardons begins the process of making good on his campaign promise to center the legalization push around criminal and social justice issues.
“We’re addressing the past harms of discriminatory prosecution of drug laws. We’re restoring the rights of Illinoisans who were denied jobs and housing and child custody and financial aid for school and social services and professional licensing,” Pritzker said at a news conference announcing the pardons.
Illinoisans who have been arrested but not convicted will have their records automatically expunged by the Illinois State Police.