Gov. JB Pritzker celebrates the signing of the marijuana legalization bill Tuesday. [Hannah Meisel/The Daily Line]

Both during the signing ceremony for the marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday and in the many months of negotiations before HB 1438 passed the General Assembly in the waning days of its spring legislative session, supporters of the bill emphasized that the legalization was about more than just generating tax revenue — but was designed to address the disproportionate negative effects of the war on drugs on minority communities. 

Stemming from that goal, the clearing of people’s criminal records of low-level marijuana charges is central to the cannabis legalization law. Expungements and pardons will available under the new law for approximately 700,000 arrest and conviction records belonging to approximately 315,000 people. 

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