Illinois Expunges 1,600 Cannabis Possession Cases

One year after the launch of the legal cannabis market in Illinois, more low-level cannabis possession convictions are being expunged.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow on Tuesday announced his presentation of a motion before Chief Judge Kennedy to expunge the records of 1,653 cases involving the misdemeanor possession of fewer than 30 grams of cannabis.

In February, Glasgow announced a joint effort to vacate and expunge cannabis cases that had become eligible under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Governor J.B. Pritzker had previously granted pardons to more than 11,000 individuals in 92 counties on January 31, 2019.

Under the law, expungement is automatic for possession cases involving less than 30 grams.

The law requires the Illinois State Police, Prisoner Review Board, and the Illinois Attorney General to identify and expunge eligible cases according to a set schedule.

• January 1, 2021, for offenses that occurred between January 1, 2013, and June 25, 2019.
• January 1, 2023, for offenses that occurred between January 1, 2000, and January 1, 2013.
• January 1, 2025, for offenses that occurred before January 1, 2000.

Glasgow’s recent motion for expungement is part of an effort by the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Will County Twelfth Judicial Circuit, and Will County Circuit Clerk Andrea Lynn Chasteen.

“Expunged criminal records of people with the low-level cannabis convictions addressed in today’s Order will help these individuals move forward with their lives and place their convications permanently behind them,” said Glasgow. “Today’s Order is a step in removing barriers to those who have been impacted as a result of having a criminal record based on these low-level cannabis possession cases. Back in 1998, I successfully wrote the grant creating Will County’s Drug Court, and spearheaded each of our other Problem Solving Courts as well.”

Glasgow says that he truly understands the importance of removing obstacles and providing opportunities, which he says the Order will accomplish for people whose records are being expunged.

The statute grants Illinois State’s Attorneys the authority to expedite the expungement process by filing a motion to vacate and expunge eligible offenses.

The records expunged this week include low-level offenses that occurred between January 1, 2013, and June 25, 2019.

Chasteen says that this week’s expungements are just one step in a multi-year process to vacate thousands of records for low-level cannabis possession cases and that her office is doing everything it can to ensure the rolling process runs smoothly and efficiently.

Glasgow plans to file additional motions for the remaining cases ahead of the schedule set by the statute.

Restorative justice is important to Will County and to our society as a whole,” said Chief Judge Kennedy, “These expungements demonstrate our commitment to this principle.”

Individuals who would like to find out whether their records will be expunged under the Order may call the Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office at 1-815-727-8592 or visit the website.