On the eve of the legalization of cannabis in Illinois, the governor announced that his office was erasing the offenses of more than 11,000 people convicted of simple cannabis possession.

Governor JB Pritzker said the decision “sets us apart” from other states that have legalized cannabis for adults and that Illinois is putting fairness firstly overturning thousands of convictions and giving individuals and their families a new lease on life

A total of 11,017 people will be amnestied for possession offenses of up to 30 grams. The governor’s office also , said 116,000 cases were eligible for amnesty through this process, with hundreds of thousands more that could be granted redress by petitioning the courts.

Above all, this is only the first wave of Illinois citizens who will see a new world of opportunity emerge as they rid themselves of the burden of their cannabis-related offenses and records,” he said.

While legalizing the sale of cannabis, the governor was keen to place social justice on a par with legal access. He intends to achieve four main goals through legalization: ending a decades-long ban, restoring the rights of tens of thousands of residents, regulating a once-dangerous illicit market, and developing an industry “that places equity within it.

Illinois became the 11th US state to legalize cannabis when the governor signed the legalization into law last June and the first to implement a legal and tax-based cannabis sales system through a government initiative, not a citizen referendum. Other states are expected to follow suit soon.

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