Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Pardons Over 11,000 Marijuana Convictions

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Pardons Over 11,000 Marijuana Convictions

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has pardoned low-level marijuana convictions for more than 11,000 people, according to CNN.

Now that Illinois has become the 11th state in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis, Gov. Pritzker has granted 11,017 pardons for people with low-level marijuana convictions. 

On New Year’s Eve, in a statement released by the governor, “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.”

“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.”

The bipartisan Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act provides multiple avenues to expunge convictions and arrest records for minor cannabis offenses. There are more than 700,000 records that will be eligible statewide for relief because of the new law.

“Today we took another step toward justice, as we continue to address the failed war on drugs and the disproportionate impact it had on communities of color,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “Clearing records under this revolutionary new law will not only open doors for thousands of families but will create stronger, safer communities as well. I’m proud to work alongside Governor Pritzker and other leaders as we make criminal justice reform a top priority in Cook County and across Illinois.”

The first phase of the adult-use cannabis market started on Jan.1. Interested cannabis entrepreneurs were able to enter the next phase of the adult-use market by applying for a license through Jan. 2. An additional 75 dispensary licenses are available, and social equity applicants are encouraged to apply here:

“Illinois is going where no other state has before, admitting the unjust errors of the war on drugs and giving so many Illinoisans greater opportunities to build good lives for themselves and the people they love,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “Our Restore, Reinvest and Renew program will direct 25% of the state’s cannabis revenue right back into the communities hit the hardest by decades of over-policing, disinvestment, disenfranchisement, and violence. In that effort, we’re lifting up the voices of the people who actually live in these neighborhoods, who know these blocks and exactly where our dollars will make a real difference.”