Illinois marijuana enthusiasts were excited to see that Democratic Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 1438 this week, fulfilling a promise he made while on the campaign trail. The bill makes the state the 11th to make cannabis legal for individuals 21 and older, but that’s not where it stops. According to the Marijuana Policy Project; it also takes it a step further, the 610-page bill will provide relief to 770,000 state residents who have weed-related charges on their records will be expunged.
The new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, when it goes into effect in the year, 2020 will allow the people to automatically receive clemency for weed convictions up to 30 grams. If you get pinched with more significant amounts, 30-500 grams, for example, you will have to petition a court to have the charges lifted.
As per the bill expunge is defined as the act 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 same rule does not apply circuit court files, they do not have to be destroyed.
Also included in the bill is a “social equity program” that will allow easier access to business licenses for those with marijuana convictions. $12 million is put aside for cannabis-related start-up business as well as funding for job training programs that will prepare many to get involved in the states new weed business once it starts booming.
Last but certainly not least, Illinois’ Department of Agriculture alongside its community college board will be creating pilot programs to people prepared to work in the new the state’s new industry. To make sure that the privileged don’t take advantage, the state will require that low-income students will be prioritized to be enrolled in the program.
Illinois is the latest state to offer leniency for marijuana-related convictions. Washington’s Governor and now Presidential candidate also signed a law that allowed weed offenders the ability to have their sentences dismissed. Another step forward to the entire country to becoming cannabis friendly.
Photo: Chicago Tribune / Getty