State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, is highlighting National Expungement Week by drawing attention to opportunities for local citizens to expunge arrest records under Illinois’ new law legalizing the adult-use of cannabis.
“An arrest record or conviction can follow someone long after they’ve gotten in trouble and unfortunately, these records can act as a barrier to building a better life,” Harper said. “Since a criminal record can keep someone from accessing jobs and housing, it’s critical that citizens trying to build a better life are aware about opportunities that allow them to expunge their records.”
Under the Harper-backed legalization of adult-use of recreational cannabis, Illinois will expand opportunities for the expungement of arrest records, which means that eligible police arrest records will be destroyed. For citizens with arrest records for possession of cannabis under 30 grams, the expungement process is automatic if the arrest did not result in conviction. For arrests for possession of cannabis under 30 grams that resulted in conviction, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will offer pardons after eligible convictions have been identified by the Illinois State Police and reviewed by the State’s Prisoner Review Board. Individuals arrested and convicted for cannabis cases involving possession of 30 to 500 grams, including with other associated crimes, will be eligible to file a motion to vacate their conviction and have the associated record expunged.
“Illinois is unique in that it is offering the broadest expungement opportunities for any state that has legalized recreational cannabis for adults,” Harper said. “People who have a minor cannabis record shouldn’t have that mistake follow them around for the rest of their lives, and thanks to the expungement opportunities in Illinois, they don’t have to.”
Harper represents the 6th District, which includes all or portions of Armour Square, Bridgeport, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Gage Park, Back of the Yards, Canaryville, New City, West Englewood, Marquette Park, South Loop and River North.