The June 25, 2019 law legalizing recreational cannabis also provided that certain prior cannabis arrests, case dispositions and convictions are to be expunged, or removed from the public records, as they negatively impact employment, education, credit, housing and other aspects of life.
While Category 1 records (arrests, dismissals, acquittals, supervisions and probations) are to be automatically expunged by the State over the following five years, progress is slow. Category 2 records (convictions for minor offenses) are also to be automatically expunged by the State, but there is a large backlog and little progress. Category 3 (other cannabis convictions) require the convicted party to initiate the expungement proceeding in the county of the conviction. Certain State’s Attorney’s and other government offices in a particular county may process an expungement for you, but you need to ask and follow-up.
Anyone with a cannabis arrest, proceeding or conviction can initiate their own expungement proceeding at any time in order to obtain an immediate expungement, and does not have to wait for the State to address their situation. The Illinois Supreme Court approved forms can be accessed at: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/forms.asp. The sooner your record is expunged the sooner it will no longer hold you back.
If you, your family or friends have criminal issues involving cannabis prior to June 25, 2019, please contact us or your family lawyer to get your records expunged, or confirm with the County where the proceeding occurred that the State has begun the expungement for you or has already done so, and follow-up to ensure it is done.