Chandelier and legislative hall inside of the Illinois Capitol Building.

Matt Turner

Bill to Expunge Low-Level Cannabis Convictions in Illinois Approved by House Committee

An Illinois House committee has advanced a measure that would allow individuals with a low-level cannabis or paraphernalia possession conviction to have the charge expunged, according to a WQAD report. The measure, sponsored by state Rep. La Shawn Ford, would add to 2016 reforms that decriminalized cannabis possession of less than 10 grams; allowing those convicted to have charges prior to the law change expunged.

The 2016 bill requires law enforcement agencies to expunge the non-criminal citations from records twice a year but that does not apply to previous convictions. Under Ford’s legislation, individuals would need to go before a judge in order to have the previous charges expunged, so long as three or more years have passed since the petitioner finished their sentence.

“If we can find ways in Illinois to put more people in the tax bracket, that’s what we should be doing and not having people stuck with felonies on their record that probably shouldn’t have been a felony in the first place.” — Ford to WQAD

The Sheriff’s Association opposes the legislation; preferring to keep the current expungement process. The legislation, which passed the committee despite opposition from two of the three Republicans, moves next to the House for a full vote.

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