President Joe Biden announced last week that he would pardon all citizens and lawful permanent residents who have simple marijuana convictions at the federal level.
The New York Times reports this move will affect about 6,500 people.
Biden also encouraged governors to follow his example, but Illinois is already ahead of the federal government.
According to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois has already pardoned and expunged nearly 800,000 low-level convictions after the legalization of marijuana in 2020. More than 15,000 of those cannabis-related convictions have been expunged by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
So what impact could the federal pardon have for a state like Illinois?
Foxx believes it sends a message across the country, “... that we need to move towards decriminalization and ultimately vacating convictions like we have done here in Illinois”
The impact of having a conviction expunged or pardoned is huge, Foxx said.
“Having a conviction on one’s record precludes them from jobs, housing, student loans,” she said.