By: Hannah Garst and Bryant Chavez
On June 25, 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law HB 1438, which will end cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system to tax and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and over. Beginning on January 1, 2020, adults (21 and older) may possess and/or purchase cannabis products in licensed stores. Possession is limited to:
30 grams of raw cannabis;
Cannabis-infused product or products containing no more than 500 mg of THC; and
Five grams of cannabis product in concentrated form.
In addition to legalizing possession and use for adults, it allows for expungement for cannabis offenses. If you were convicted of possession of between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana, we can petition the Court for an expungement. The Court will weigh many factors, including facts of the underlying offense, when considering whether to grant the petitions to vacate and expunge your record. It is up to us to convince the Court that the remedy is appropriate for you.
Automatic Expungement of Criminal Records Involving Marijuana (Cannabis) Convictions of less than 30 grams
Individuals with qualifying offenses and records are not required to take any action to have their records automatically expunged. However, if you would like to have your record expunged as soon as possible, we can petition the Court to vacate and expunge the conviction without waiting for the Prisoner Review Board and Governor.
· Arrests Not Resulting in Criminal Charges: These cases are currently eligible to be expunged. However, starting on January 1, 2020, expungements will be automatic for arrests involving up to 30 grams of marijuana as long as at least one calendar year has passed since the date of arrest and no subsequent criminal charges were filed related to the arrest. Automatic expungement will start according to the date of the original arrest (see below).
· Arrests Resulting in Criminal Charges Not Resulting in a Conviction: These cases are currently eligible to be expunged. If you would like to have your record expunged as soon as possible, contact us today to start this process. Automatic expungement will start according to the date of the original arrest (see below).
· Convictions Involving Possession of Marijuana 30 Grams or Less: Starting on January 1, 2020, convictions involving up to 30 grams of marijuana will be eligible for automatic expungement. The violation must not have involved delivering marijuana to a child under the age of 18 who was at least 3 years younger than the defendant and did not involve a violent crime. The Illinois State Police will automatically identify all eligible conviction records and forward them to the Prisoner Review Board. After the Prisoner Review Board reviews the records, it will go to the governor with a recommendation for pardon. Once the governor grants a pardon, the state attorney general will petition the court to expunge the record.
· Timetable for Automatic Expungements
The schedule (and deadlines) for law enforcement agencies to automatically expunge qualifying offenses and records is based upon the initial date of arrest.
o Records created between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2020, shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2021
o Records created between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2012, shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2023
o Records created before to January 1, 2000 shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2025.
Individuals with qualifying offenses and records are not required to take any action to have their records automatically expunged. However, if you wish to start the expungement process today, contact the Law Offices of Hannah Garst, P.C.
The automatic expungement mandate does NOT apply to marijuana related arrests and convictions associated with arrests and/or convictions for:
o Violent sexual offenses
o Sexual offenses against a minor
o Stalking offenses
o Any offense resulting in a court order to register as a Sex Offender
o Animal abuse offenses
o Violations of local ordinances