Illinois Marijuana Pardons and Immigrants

Mario A. Godoy
Illinois Marijuana Pardons and Immigrants

The day before recreational cannabis became legal in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced he was pardoning more than 11,000 people who had been convicted of low-level marijuana crimes in Illinois. The governor announced the Illinois marijuana pardons on December 31 at Chicago’s Trinity United Church. The expungement of hundreds of thousands of records applies to all low-level pot possession convictions dating back decades – for possession of 30 grams or less. The pardon process is automatic and is being handled by Illinois state police, but it may take up to a year or more for people to see their records cleared. The new law also authorizes Illinois state’s attorneys to consider vacating cases involving up to 500 grams of marijuana.

On January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized cannabis use and became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults.

Marijuana is still a federally banned drug

Immigration officials can take marijuana use, investment or work into account in denying U.S. entry or applications for legal permanent residency known as green cards. Some could face detention or deportation.

However, the expungement of a marijuana conviction won’t help immigration cases. Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy advises:

“non-citizens not to partake, admit use or carry documentation such as a receipt, because it could hurt their cases. They extended the warning to U.S. citizens who live in mixed status households for the same reason.”

Non-citizens who are applying for legal immigration status should consult an experienced immigration attorney on how to deal with legal and illegal marijuana use, criminal history or marijuana industry work or investment.

Do you have a question about how Illinois’ new marijuana laws affect immigrants and non-citizens? The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855.554.6369

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