More than 11,000 convictions for low-level crimes involving 30 grams or less of marijuana were expunged by Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois on Tuesday, one day before pot becomes legal to buy and sell in the state.
“We are ending the 50-year-long war on cannabis,” Pritzker said in a statement, according to NBC News. “We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core.”
The pardons are being granted to individuals in 92 of the state’s 102 counties, according to the governor’s office.
The Illinois legislature passed a bill earlier in 2019, which Pritzker signed into law, effectively making recreational marijuana legal for consumption in the state starting in 2020. There are still limits on how much pot a person can have at any given time — 30 grams or about one ounce of marijuana, and 500 mg of THC within edibles products — and only certain individuals, who have a prescription for marijuana, can grow plants in their home, up to five at a time, ABC7 Chicago explained.
— Cook County State's Attorney's Office (@cookcountysao) December 31, 2019
Restrictions will also be harsher for out-of-staters — limits for non-Illinois residents will be half of what they are for citizens of the state.
The new law also does not designate where a person can smoke or consume pot in public. It will be up to local municipalities to determine whether public marijuana use will be permissible within their own jurisdictions. But private use of the drug will be allowed within a person’s dwelling.
Starting January 1, 2020, Illinois will become the 11th state in the country to allow residents to consume pot in a recreational manner.