Illinois State Law will expunge almost 800,000 marijuana convictions

A new Illinois State law is legalising marijuana, and helping those who have been previously convicted with it.

The 610-page bill (HB 1438) provides relief to 770,000 individuals within the state who have marijuana offences on their criminal records.



Illinois is the 11th US state to legalise recreational marijuana, news which emerges soon after NY State’s decriminalisation of the drug, and expungement of previously and currently convicted users.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (2020) allows those who have been caught with possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis to automatically receive clemency. If you have been convicted with larger amounts (30 to 500 grams), you may apply to a court to have the charge lifted.

The word expungement is being used with relation to these new weed-friendly legislative trends. To expunge a criminal conviction is to “seal” or erase it in the eyes of the law. In the bill it means to “physically destroy the records or return them to the petitioner and to obliterate the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record or both”. 

The bill also strives to serve a beneficial socio-economic purpose, through its “social equity program”, which means that those with pot convictions may obtain licences to sell the drug. A $12 million budget has been allocated for startup businesses pertaining to cannabis.