ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The new year is beginning with thousands of "pot pardons" as Illinois changes its marijuana laws at midnight. Illinois is now the 11th state to legalize cannabis for adults.
"Don't get out your fringe vest, don't get out your bong yet, don't go running and haywire over this. Although it's legal, there are rules, regulations, and restrictions," said Founding Attorney at Sherer Law Offices Barbara Sherer.
Sherer said big changes are in store for 2020.
"I'm really excited about the fact that people who have convictions from marijuana on their records, they can get rid of those. In terms of family functioning, getting a job, moving forward, building your wealth, having a good job and career, you might be able to get rid of something that's been haunting you for years, namely a conviction for marijuana," said Sherer.
The expungement of hundreds of thousands of records applies to all low-level pot possession convictions dating back decades... that means possessions of 30 grams or less.
"By January 1st of 2021, so one year from the date it becomes legal that any arrest from January 2013 to the present... all those should be expunged and then they have until January 1st 2023 to expunge going back further, anything from January 1st, 2000 to 2013, then they have until January of 2025 to expunge arrests before 2000," said attorney Sarah Sherer-Kohlburn.
Sherer-Kohlburn said there are exceptions, not all pot possession records will be expunged.
"If the arrest was related to a violent crime or to the intent to deliver to anyone under 18, then it's not eligible for that automatic expungement. There has to be at least a year since the arrest, where you didn't get charged for it. If you got arrested, then later charged with possession for intent, they you're not eligible," said Sherer-Kohlburn.
Both attorneys agreeing, the pardons will help families and the economy.
"Charging and spending government resources on somebody who is possessing a small bag of marijuana or a couple joints, most people would agree they would rather see efforts focused on child, animal abuse, violent crimes, burglaries," said Sherer.
If you need legal help, you can contact Barbara Sherer or Sarah Sherer-Kohlburn at Sherer Law Officers. For more information, visit shererlaw.com