Chicago, IL: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.
Foxx’s office is negotiating with the same non-profit group, Code for America, that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office with automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.
Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to suspend criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses, but does move forward with other drug-related violations.
Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.
In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities — including Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and St. Louis — have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, Sacramento, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate former cannabis convictions.
For more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.