Latest Cannabis News
Select Page

Expungement and Illinois Cannabis

Illinois Cannabis Expungement and Social Equity Explained

Illinois Cannabis Expungement

Social Equity & Cannabis Expungement

Illinois Cannabis Expungement is coming for those people arrested for, or convicted of, an offense eligible for expungement under the new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that becomes effective in Illinois on January 1, 2020.  Basically low level cannabis offenses (possession up to 500 grams, or intent to distribute up to 30 grams) will be expunged once cannabis is legal in Illinois.  We cover the law in this article and give you the details.

Up to 800,000 people in Illinois will be eligible for expungement of their past “minor cannabis offenses’ and a few other crimes under Section 4 and 5 of the Illinois Cannabis Control Act.

In this page, we provide a great amount of detail as to what cannabis offenses can be expunged and how that impacts your status as a social equity applicant in the new Illinois cannabis industry.

How to expunge cannabis convictions in Illinois

  1. Get your arrest records, sometimes called “rap sheet”, for your cannabis arrests or convictions & check if they are eligible.
  2. Possession up to 500 grams, or intent to distribute up to 30 grams are eligible for expungement under new Illinois cannabis law.
  3. Call your local legal aid clinic and get an opinion on your record to start the procedure for expungement that requires additional work.
  4. “Minor Cannabis Crimes” will be automatically expunged, but that is only possession of cannabis of up to one ounce (30 grams).
  5. Submit a petition for expungement with the circuit clerk’s office. 
  6. Attend a court hearing if any objection to your Illinois Cannabis Expungement petition is filed by the State
  7. Have the court grant your petition to expunge your cannabis conviction or arrest.
  8. The local police and state police have to expunge your record, which can take approximately 60 days after the order.

Here’s the link to the report from Colorado showing the reduction of arrests & DUIs after cannabis legalization.

Cannabis Expungement and Social Equity in Illinois

Illinois Cannabis Automatic Expungement for Minor Cannabis Offenses

(G-5) “Minor Cannabis Offense” means a violationExpungement Illinois cannabis
of Section 4 or 5 of the Cannabis Control Act
concerning not more than 30 grams of any substance
containing cannabis, provided the violation did not
include a penalty enhancement under Section 7 of the
Cannabis Control Act and is not associated with an
arrest, conviction or other disposition for a violent
crime as defined in subsection (c) of Section 3 of the
Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act.

Brief Outline of Expungement for Cannabis in Illinois

  • Social Equity Applicant
    • 20% of your application’s score
    • Three elements to Social Equity Applicants
      • Reside in a “Disproportionately Impacted Area”
      • Arrested for an “offense eligible for expungement”
      • 10 full time employees with 51% from number 1 or 2 
  • Offenses Eligible for Expungement Under the Cannabis Law 
    • Minor cannabis offenses100 grams cannabis expunged
      • Automatic expungement
      • Minor cannabis offenses
        • Not more than 30 grams
        • No penalty enhancement
        • Violation of section 4 or 5 of Cannabis Control Act
          • Misdemeanor or Class 4 Felonies
    • Cannabis Control Act – Class 4 Felony
      • Section 4 – Possession
        • Subsection C – up to 100 grams
          • Subsequent offense – Class 4 Felony
        • Subsection D – 101 to 500 grams
          • First offense only – Class 4 Felony
          • Subsequent offense – Class 3 Felony
      • Section 5 – manufacture & intent to deliver
        • Subsection C – 10 to 30 grams
          • Class 4 felony
    • Intentional Arrests
      • Morality clause of Section 135 then applies
      • If you have a criminal record, then you have to play under different rules to show that you have been rehabilitated
      • So if you qualify for being a social equity applicant because you intentionally did it, probably won’t work out well.

Images from the law for your review on the social equity aspects of the expugmentment for cannabis offenses.

Expungement for Arrests for “Minor Cannabis Offenses” in Illinois

expunge minor cannabis offenses


Also expunge misdemeanors or felonies under Illinois Cannabis Control Act’s Section 4 and 5

cannabis control act amend

Manufacture class 4

Here’s more from the law regarding other cannabis offenses that are eligible for expungement in Illinois.

500 grams cannabis expunged


Expungement and Social Equity in Illinois Script

Hi, I’m Thomas Howard a cannabis lawyer you can find at cannabis Industry an online resource for your questions about getting into and operating in the legal cannabis industry. Today, we have a hot topic in cannabis – social equity.  Illinois expressly adopted social equity into their law and created offenses eligible for expungement that qualify people as social equity applicants.

The social equity portion of your cannabis license application constitutes 20% of the points for your application and there are 3 primary ways to get them.  1) live in a Disproportionately Impacted Area, 2) get arrested or convicted for an offense eligible for expungement under the new cannabis law, or 3) work for a cannabis company with at least 10 full time employees from number 1 or 2.  That was social equity points, and not applicants – because then you would have needed a majority of ownership and control for points one and two.

We are just going to focus right now on the offenses eligible for expungement.  What are those? The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “CRTA”) creates them by defining a new legal term of art, the “minor cannabis offense,” and amending the cannabis control act to include both possession and intent to distribute so long as it was a misdemeanor or class 4 felony.

What’s a minor cannabis offense?  The CRTA defines it as a violation of Section 4 or 5 of the Cannabis Control Act of not more than 30 grams of cannabis, so long as it does not include a penalty enhancement under Section 7 of the cannabis control act – basically violence in addition to trafficking or having cannabis.

  1. The new law automatically expunges all minor cannabis offenses, which may draw a separation of powers challenge because only the governor has the ability to pardon offenders – which presumably JB Pritzker would do as this is a Bill that he supported and signed. – Perhaps signing the bill was his pardon – legally speaking.
  2. Confusion arises with the other expungeable offenses that require more paperwork, and expungement seminars in 2020, to get off your record.  The CRTA provided that not only minor cannabis offenses can be expunged, but also misdemeanors and class 4 felonies under Sections 4 and 5 of the Cannabis Control Act.
  3. Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act deals with possession, and you can be caught with possession of up to 500 grams (that’s a little over one pound) of unlicensed cannabis once – but getting caught again with it is a bigger crime, a class 3 felony for the subsequent offense.  You can get caught with 30 to 100 grams a subsequent time and have it be a Class 4 felony. So if you get caught with a pound of cannabis once, you can get it expunged – however if that happened…

You probably were also charged under Section 5 of the Cannabis Control Act for intent to distribute, basically to intend to sell the cannabis.  If you are charged with that, the amounts of cannabis is much less. Being charged with intent to distribute more than 10 but less than 30 grams of cannabis is a class 4 felony, and less than 10 grams is a misdemeanor. 30 grams is only about an ounce, which is probably less than $500 at your local dispensary, and also the legal possession limit under the CRTA.  Probably not a coincidence that the amount legal to possess is the same amount you can be expunged for attempting to deliver.

These amendments really raise 2 things in my mind.  First, there will be a lot of arrests for cannabis in the future because the lawful possession level of one ounce can easily be exceeded, or people start paying their bar bets with cannabis and get caught weighing out a gram and bagging it up – but these minor infractions are all eligible for expungement, and second, the result of the continued arrests will be that the wave of social equity applicants will grow – especially if people organize cannabis rights events in the various communities that have begun passing ordinances banning cannabis businesses in their communities – It’s not very family friendly to arrest people for doing something safer and healthier than alcohol or cigarettes – or even fast food.  But these arrests will quickly fall as they did in Colorado after legalization.

They dropped sharply as well, check out not only the marijuana arrests in Colorado, but also what happend to DUI arrests – they also fell by double digits.  For more, I’ve left the official report from Colorado in the description section and also linked on this webpage.

If you are are victim of one of these expungeable offenses and want to get into the cannabis industry – feel free to browse my website or give me a call.

Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Cannabis Lawyer

Thomas Howard has been in business for years and can help yours navigate towards more profitable waters.

How to Open a Dispensary in Oklahoma

How to Open a Dispensary in Oklahoma

How to Open a Dispensary in Oklahoma To open a dispensary in Oklahoma the start-up costs are significantly lower than many other legal states. For you to open a dispensary in Oklahoma, it is necessary to get the right information and consider some of the essential...

R3 Program & Grants in Illinois

R3 Program & Grants in Illinois

R3 Program & Grants in Illinois The R3 Program gives Grants in Illinois were created as a way to right some of the wrongs of the War on Drugs. It has recently been announced that, as of May 19, 2020, Illinois allotted $31.5 million in tax revenue for the R3...

Why Your Cannabis Company Needs An Outside General Counsel

Why Your Cannabis Company Needs An Outside General Counsel

The budding legal cannabis market is a complex web of laws and regulations. These laws can be so convoluted at times that some states, like Pennsylvania and Florida, are having trouble implementing their own licensing schemes. Perhaps it’s not surprising that some of...

Cannabis Transport Vehicles

Cannabis Transport Vehicles

Cannabis Transport Vehicles Cannabis transport vehicles are needed to transport cash, cannabis, and other valuable items to warehouses, retail stores, and private vaults. Cannabis transporter NorCal Vans joins us with guest host Dustin Robinson to discuss the best...

Arizona Cannabis Lawyer

Arizona Cannabis Lawyer

Arizona Cannabis Lawyer Arizona cannabis lawyer, Thomas Dean, joins to discuss the cannabis initiatives Arizona has in the works for 2020. ‘Smart and Safe Arizona’ is standing out as the prominent initiative but does it include your right to grow at home, or address...

Need A Cannabis Attorney?

Our cannabis business attorneys are also business owners.  They can help you structure your business or help protect it from overly burdensome regulations.


316 SW Washington Street, Suite 1A
Peoria, Illinois 61602

Phone: (309) 740-4033 || Email:

150 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400,
Chicago IL, 60606 USA

Phone: 312-741-1009 || Email:

316 SW Washington Street, Suite 1A
Peoria, Illinois 61602

Phone: (309) 740-4033 || Email:

150 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400,
Chicago IL, 60606 USA

Phone: 312-741-1009 || Email:

cannabis industry lawyer

316 SW Washington St,Peoria,
IL 61602, USA
Call Us (309) 740-4033 || e-Mail Us
Cannabis Industry & Legalization News

Cannabis Industry & Legalization News

Subscribe and get the latest on the cannabis industry.  It will be about 2 emails a month is all!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This

Thank you for visiting our website.

But the content on this website is intended for adults only.*

Are you at least 21 years of age?

By entering this website, you certify that you are of legal smoking age in the state in which you reside.