Cannabis Expungement Information
As of January 1, 2020, possessing cannabis, or weed, is legal in Illinois, up to certain amounts. Part of the same law that legalized weed also created ways to clear criminal records for weed. This is called expungement.
There are different ways to have your record expunged, depending on what type of record you have.
Arrests for "minor cannabis offenses"
You qualify for
automatic expungement of police records if you have an arrest as an adult for a “minor cannabis offense,” which is:
- For possession or dealing,
- 30 grams or less,
- Before June 25, 2019.
It must be at least one year since the arrest. There must not have been any charges filed in court. Or, the charges must have been dismissed or vacated, or you were acquitted.
Also, you must not have:
- Given weed to someone under 18 who was at least three years younger than you, or
- Been arrested for a violent crime in the same case as the weed charges.
If all of this is true, the police will
automatically remove your
law enforcement record based on when you were arrested:
- Arrested 1/1/2013 or later: Record expunged by 1/1/2021.
- Arrested between 1/1/2000 and 12/31/2012: Record expunged by 1/1/2023.
- Arrested before 1/1/2000: Record expunged by 1/1/2025.
Note: This automatic expungement process for arrests
does not expunge court records. You will still need to file a Motion to Vacate and Expunge your record to have this happen. You may also file earlier than these time frames, if you do not want to wait for the automatic process to occur, but you still must wait until one year after the arrest before you file.
Convictions for "minor cannabis offenses"
If you were convicted of a "minor cannabis offense" (see above), your record may still be
expunged automatically. But it is a longer process.
The record will go to the Prisoner Review Board (PRB). The PRB can then recommend that the Governor grant a “pardon authorizing expungement.” If the Governor does this, the Attorney General will file a petition in the county where you were convicted to have the record expunged. If granted, the Circuit Clerk must then notify you and give you a copy of the order expunging your record. You must tell the circuit clerk if your address has changed since your case happened.
Possessing or dealing convictions
If your conviction was for
possession of 500 grams or less, or
dealing of less than 30 grams, you can still have your record expunged. The date of the conviction matters, too. Use the table below to see if you qualify:
Eligibility to file Motion to Vacate and Expunge
|Convicted of this charge||Date of conviction||Amount of cannabis|
|Possession of cannabis||8/13/1973 to 6/25/2019||500 grams or less|
|Attempt possession of cannabis||8/15/1997 to 6/25/2019||2000 grams or less|
|Attempt possession of cannabis||8/13/1973 to 8/14/1997||Any amount|
|Manufacture/ delivery of cannabis with intent to manufacture/ deliver||9/24/1983 to 6/25/2019||30 grams or less|
|Attempt manufacture/ delivery of cannabis||9/24/1983 to 6/25/2019||500 grams or less|
In order to expunge your record in this category, you must file a
Motion to Vacate and Expunge in court. There are two ways for this to happen:
- The State's Attorney may do this for you, or
- You can do it yourself. These forms will be available on this site in the near future, if you want to do it on your own.
Want more information?
New Leaf Illinois
is a network of 20 non-profit organizations throughout the state who provide legal representation and other resources to help individuals seeking to expunge cannabis convictions from their records.
If you have a cannabis conviction in the State of Illinois and want to find out more about your path to expungement, click
to go to the New Leaf website and fill out a form, or call the New Leaf hotline at (855)963-9532. You will answer some simple questions needed to review your case. A legal professional will determine your options and let you know how the New Leaf network can help. New Leaf services can include free legal information, self-help instruction, document review and preparation, legal consultation, and if available, referrals to a network of legal aid and pro bono attorneys for in-court representation.
Information if you want to file on your own:
To learn more about cannabis expungement, the law and your rights, visit
Illinois Legal Aid Online
(ILAO). Here you can learn more about the different paths to expungement, including forms, worksheets, informational videos and other resources to pursue expungement on your own.