Expunging Old Marijuana Convictions

The new Illinois laws legalizing cannabis has a benefit to old stoners – expungement of criminal records.

Among the several provisions of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act which takes effect on January 1 are provisions that include some dramatic criminal justice reforms.  The most important of these provisions are the expungement provisions for certain past cannabis-related criminal convictions.

Chicago Business Lawyer

Illinois laws now permit expungement of prior cannabis related crimes.

The new laws provide for an expedited and automatic expungement[1] procedure for convictions of cannabis related crimes which (1) involved less than 30 grams of cannabis and (2) did not include any violent crime.   This will require local law enforcement agencies to automatically clear up any convictions before 2025.   People with cannabis criminal convictions (less than 30 grams) should not have to do anything to get their records cleared.

If the conviction involves more that 30 grams but less than 500 grams of possession, those individuals must file the appropriate petitions with the Circuit Court to ask for an expungement of their conviction.  This is not an automatic process, but courts are instructed under the new law to take into account a number of factors including the age of the individual at the time of the arrest and their current age, the time since conviction, subsequent criminal activity and any adverse consequences.

If you want more information about expunging a criminal record, you should contact a qualified, experienced lawyer to assist you in the process.



[1] In the common law legal system, an expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the records are said to be “expunged”. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “expungement of record” as the “Process by which record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository.”[1] While expungement deals with an underlying criminal record, it is a civil action in which the subject is the petitioner or plaintiff asking a court to declare that the records be expunged. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expungement)