Cannabis became legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020. Part of the Illinois law that legalized marijuana also offers ways to clear your criminal record for some marijuana convictions. This process is known as expungement.
If you have a conviction for a marijuana offense in Illinois, it is essential to understand how and when you can expunge your record. Expunging your record may help you pass a criminal background check, qualify for student loans, rent an apartment, and more. Clearing your record may be automatic in some cases, but not always.
Below are details about clearing your record of a marijuana charge and related information. If you need legal assistance, please contact the Chicago marijuana defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman.
Marijuana Charges For Less Than 30 Grams
One of the reasons that Illinois legalized marijuana is that many convictions were for small amounts of cannabis and were not related to a violent crime. Therefore, if you were convicted of carrying less than 30 grams of cannabis, your record should be automatically expunged. However, it may take longer than you like.
If your cannabis conviction happened between Jan. 1, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2020, it should already be cleared from your record. The deadline for that to happen automatically was Jan. 1, 2020. If your marijuana conviction happened before Jan. 1, 2013, or after Jan. 20, 2020, it should be off your record by Jan. 1, 2023.
For the crime to be cleared from your record, you must not have:
- Given marijuana to a minor under 18 who was not three years younger
- Been arrested for a marijuana and violent crime simultaneously
Your home address must be updated with the county clerk where the marijuana case was handled. That is because an expungement notice will be mailed to the last home address the clerk has on file.
While it can be nerve-wracking to wait for your record to be cleared, patience is required. Your criminal record must be reviewed by five state government offices or more as follows:
The Illinois State Police must pull your criminal record
- A state prison review board must check which records should be sent to the governor’s office for a pardon
- The governor needs to approve or dismiss your pardon
- The Illinois attorney general has the option of challenging your pardon
- Your criminal record is sent back to the Illinois State Police for expungement
Marijuana Charges for 30 to 500 Grams
If you were convicted of cannabis possession for 30 to 500 grams, you would need to work on your own to clear your record. Expunging your criminal record in this situation is not automatic. First, you or your Chicago marijuana defense lawyer must petition the court to take the charge off your record. Then the judge must decide if you qualify for expungement. Remember, there is no guarantee your record will be cleared.
You also may qualify for expungement in these cases:
- Manufacture or delivery of marijuana for 30 grams or less
- Attempted manufacture or delivery of cannabis for 500 grams or less
What Is the Difference Between Expungement and a Pardon?
A pardon means the Illinois governor forgives the marijuana conviction. But a pardon will not clear your criminal record. On the other hand, an expungement removes the crime from your record. A pardon frequently is followed by an expungement. However, expungement is not guaranteed or automatic.
If your attorney cannot expunge your conviction record, another option is to petition the court to seal your criminal record. This makes your criminal record closed to the public. However, the cannabis conviction will still appear for a criminal background check. The charge is still on your record. This can complicate applying for a job, so your Chicago cannabis possession lawyer will do their best to expunge your record.
Overview of Illinois Marijuana Legalization
You may be able to clear your record of the marijuana charge. But to stay out of future trouble, please remember these limits to the state marijuana law:
- You must be 21 or older to use cannabis legally in Illinois. Possession limits are the same, which means you can only purchase up to 30 grams from licensed dispensaries. In addition, only medical marijuana patients can grow cannabis at home. The limit is five plants per person.
- You cannot use cannabis everywhere. For instance, it is still illegal to use marijuana when driving. It also is against the law to smoke cannabis on school grounds. You also cannot use cannabis in public places, including parks and sidewalks. There also is no smoking weed in bars or restaurants. However, the state does allow smoking in designated areas in a marijuana dispensary.
- While the Illinois State Police will not revoke your Firearm Owner’s Identification Card based on legal marijuana use, the department notes that someone addicted to narcotics is not allowed to use or possess firearms. Therefore, there is a large gray area to be aware of if you own guns. It is also complicated because cannabis possession is still illegal under federal law.
- Recreational marijuana purchases are taxed between 10-25%, depending on how much THC is in the weed. The tax and prices could rise over time. Also, local governments may add a tax of up to 3%.
Contact a Chicago Marijuana Defense Lawyer Now
Having a marijuana possession conviction on your record can negatively affect your life. You may have difficulty securing a job, renting an apartment, going to college, and more. Fortunately, there are ways to expunge your record under Illinois law now that marijuana is legal. As of Jan. 4, 2021, the Illinois State Police have cleared almost 500,000 marijuana arrest records. However, thousands in the state are still eligible for expungement.
The Law Offices of Vadim Glozman represent people accused of marijuana offenses in Illinois, including Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Oak Brook, and Palatine. Our attorneys will work hard to clear your record of the marijuana charge. Contact our Chicago marijuana defense lawyers now at (312) 726-9015.