Chicago prosecutors expunge over 15,000 cannabis convictions
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx arrives to speak to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. AP Photo/Matt Marton
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Chicago’s Cook County State Attorney’s Office is set to automatically expunge an additional 214 cannabis convictions Friday, bringing the total number of expungements to 15,191.

The Cannabis Expungement Project is coming to an end after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois went into effect January 1, 2020. 

During the last two years, the State’s Attorney Office has expunged convictions from individuals’ records as if they never happened. 

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx
(Left) Special prosecutor Dan Webb; (Right) Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx
(Left) Special prosecutor Dan Webb; (Right) Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

States attorney moves to expunge more cannabis convictions

“Felony charges can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from jobs to housing, long after the debt to society has been paid,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “I am proud that by working with advocates, Code for America, the Chief Judge’s Office, the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the Illinois State Police we were able to bring relief for so many individuals so that they, their families, and their communities can move forward.”

On December 11, 2019, Foxx personally filed the first 100 motions to vacate in advance of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which took effect January 1, 2020. 

There are 588 remaining cannabis cases in the system that date back as far as 1965, however, the state attorney’s office said it will require additional time for research and data to expunge those records.

Science says cannabis is good for more than laughs and munchies

According to Marijuana Moment, legalizing marijuana for adult use is associated with decreased use of prescription drugs for the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, sleep, pain, and seizures.

On average, a new study found recreational cannabis legalization seems to be associated with reductions in prescription drug utilization for depression (-11 percent), anxiety (-12 percent), pain (-8 percent), seizures (-10 percent), psychosis (-11 percent) and sleep (-11 percent).

According to the ACLU’s original analysis, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana.

Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than Whites to be arrested for marijuana.

Mike Creef is a fighter for equality and justice for all. Growing up bi-racial (Jamaican-American) on the east coast allowed him to experience many different cultures and beliefs that helped give him a...

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