The move summarily pardons an estimated 15,000 people previously convicted of offenses involving the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis.
While the Governor’s office already possesses the authority to issue pardons in certain circumstances, this measure expands those powers so that the Governor can do so unilaterally for persons with minor marijuana convictions.
Legislation takes effect on Saturday, January 11, decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.
“The 11,017 pardons that Gov. Pritzker is granting today are thousands of lives forever changed — and hundreds of thousands more will be changed in the coming months. Those who were unfairly targeted by discriminatory drug laws can finally get ahead and build a new future for themselves and their families.”
Adults will be able to purchase cannabis from select retailers beginning Wednesday, January 1.
“This will make it possible for thousands of residents now and in the future to truly be able to turn the corner and not have long forgotten mistakes marking them like a ‘scarlet letter’ for the rest of their lives.”