As part of the legalization of retail marijuana sales next year, new state law provides for wiping out low-level convictions and arrests for marijuana possession.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to qualify to have their public records erased for cases involving cannabis misdemeanors and lesser felonies. For most people with misdemeanors, the process is supposed to happen automatically. But for some people, officials warn, the process may be long and difficult.
The law provides for automatic expungement of arrest records for marijuana possession under 30 grams. Expungement means that police arrest records will be destroyed and court records will be wiped away from public view. To make that happen, Illinois State Police will compile records of all eligible defendants, and police will wipe their records clean on their own.
State troopers have also already begun sending cannabis conviction records to the Prisoner Review Board for its review. The board is then expected to recommend those cases for dismissal, except for such cases that turn out to be more serious and therefore ineligible.