As drug coverage reforms take impact in Illinois with this 12 months’s launch of authorized leisure hashish gross sales, Cook dinner County State’s Lawyer Kim Foxx has set objectives for the automated expungement of convictions for low-level marijuana gross sales and possession of small quantities of arduous medicine. Foxx shared her plans for additional reform efforts in an unique interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that was printed on Monday.

Foxx stated that at the moment, her workplace is busy processing automated expungements for circumstances involving possession of as much as 30 grams of marijuana, as mandated by the leisure hashish invoice handed into legislation by Illinois lawmakers in 2019. However she would additionally prefer to see convictions for promoting 30 to 500 grams of hashish expunged mechanically. These with such convictions are actually required to petition the courtroom to have their data cleared.

“We must also make it simpler for many who had these gross sales convictions for greater quantities to additionally be capable of have their convictions vacated mechanically,” Foxx stated.

“No, they didn’t have a license. And no, it wasn’t authorized. However it was the one economic system that that they had,” she continued, including that regulated hashish companies are actually “doing the very same factor and making a ton of cash.”

Expungement Of Convictions For Laborious Medication Additionally On The Desk

Foxx believes that drug coverage reforms mustn’t finish with the modifications to hashish legal guidelines that went into impact this 12 months. As an alternative, she sees transforming hashish coverage as a check case for broader reform to deal with the damaging impacts of prohibition.

“What has been a protracted concern of mine … is different medicine which can be nonetheless unlawful, which can be nonetheless being prosecuted, in a few of these very neighborhoods which can be being devastated by the battle on medicine,” Foxx stated. “And marijuana was however one of many medicine. It wasn’t the totality of the devastation.”

“I feel that is the gateway dialog to deeper conversations round treating dependancy as a public well being challenge and looking out on the drug economic system that has flourished in these neighborhoods whereas each different little bit of economic system has deserted [them],” she stated.

Foxx added that she would additionally assist efforts to expunge convictions for possession of small quantities of arduous medicine together with cocaine and heroin if such modifications have been half of a bigger and extra progressive strategy to drug use and dependancy.

“If we acknowledge substance abuse dysfunction as a well being situation, then we should modify our justice system to deal with it as such,” Foxx stated. “Criminalizing well being just isn’t within the curiosity of public security.”

Ralph Weisheit, a professor of legal justice at Illinois State College, stated that Foxx’s imaginative and prescient aligns with nationwide developments, though he acknowledged that he’s shocked on the tempo of reform.

“It’s clear that public assist for harsh drug sentences is fading, and that is notably true for minor possession and use circumstances,” Weisheit stated. “Decriminalizing minor possession of arduous medicine, as has occurred in Oregon, is one thing I’d not have predicted even 5 years in the past.”

“That prosecutors would categorical any assist for these modifications just isn’t one thing I’d have anticipated,” Weisheit added. “Traditionally, prosecutors haven’t led the cost for decriminalization.”