700,000 people.

That is roughly how many Illinois residents could have their criminal records expunged or sealed once recreational marijuana use is signed into law by the governor, according to Democratic State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria.

Gordon-Booth, who represents the 92nd District, has been pushing for legalization for three years.

“The amount of people that I saw having their lives literally turned upside-down because of minor offenses, often minor cannabis offenses. Many folks are locked out of jobs, locked out of housing and financial aid due to their records,” Gordon-Booth told WMBD’s Greg and Dan.

Gordon-Booth said these people are adults, with kids in our public schools, that have been stuck in poverty due to their convictions.

Gordon-Booth says legalized marijuana would provide new opportunities for residents who have been convicted of minor offenses.

“The disparity between African-Americans and non African-Americans that participate in this phase, the numbers are about the same. But, convictions rates are 4-to-5 times (for African-Americans),” Gordon-Booth said.

Gordon-Booth says making recreational marijuana legal in Illinois will not increase use. She says typically the numbers go down, except for one group.

“The only age group that sees a real uptick are those folks between 55 and 70,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he will sign the legislation into law.

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June 4, 2019 at 01:13PM