In 2016, small amounts of cannabis became decriminalized in Illinois. Now, State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) has introduced a new bill that would allow people with marijuana convictions to petition to have them expunged from their records.
"Law enforcement would have a right to object to it and I think that’s fair," Ford told WQAD. "You have to go before a judge, the judge will look at it, and ultimately grant a 'yes' or a 'no.' "
The bill would only apply to convictions from before July 29, 2016 and requires a waiting period of 3 years from completion of the sentence before expungement can be petitioned.
Ford believes his bill will help people who have difficulty finding work with a criminal record.
"If we can find ways in Illinois to put more people in the tax bracket, that’s what we should be doing and not having people stuck with felonies on their record that probably shouldn’t have been a felony in the first place," Ford said.
The bill passed out of committee on Tuesday and now heads to the House floor.
State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) agrees.
"It seemed that that would be an appropriate thing to do so that people can get jobs and raise their family," she said. "If it’s a petty offense, you should be able to have it off your record."