CHICAGO (Nexstar)— Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker granted over 11,000 pardons Tuesday for people who had low-level cannabis convictions — one day before recreational marijuana becomes legalized in the state.
The governor was at Trinity United Church at 10 a.m. for the pardons, which have been anticipated for months.
The expungement of hundreds of thousands of records applies to all low-level pot possession convictions dating back decades — that means possession of 30 grams or less.
But state’s attorneys throughout Illinois can consider filings to vacate cases involving up to 500 grams of marijuana.
Pritzker met with the Cook County State’s Attorney earlier this month as the first motions for Tuesday’s expungements were filed.
The governor knows this day will be life changing for entire families.
“For the many individuals and families whose lives have been changed, indeed, hurt, because the nation’s war on drugs, discriminated against people of color, this day belongs to you, too,” the governor said.
The mass exonerations come less than 24 hours before the legalization of recreational pot sales in Illinois.
In a matter of hours, anyone over 21 can purchase and possess up to 30 grams legally, thus, the expungement of previous convictions for that same amount.
The process is said to be automatic and it’s being handled by Illinois state police, but it may take up to a year or more for people to see their records cleared.