Illinois State Leaders and Justice Reform Advocates Celebrate Signing of Most Equity & Justice-Oriented Marijuana Legalization Passed by a State Legislature, Providing Relief to Hundreds of Thousands of Illinois Residents

For Immediate Release: June 25, 2019
Contact: Heather Cabral, 202-550-6880, heather@westendstrategy.com

Illinois State Leaders and Justice Reform Advocates Celebrate Signing of Most Equity & Justice-Oriented Marijuana Legalization Passed by a State Legislature, Providing Relief to Hundreds of Thousands of Illinois Residents

Chicago, Ill. – The Alliance for Safety and Justice, together with legislative leaders and local
allies, applaud Gov. J.B. Pritzker for signing the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. It is the first
state legislature-passed legalization of recreational marijuana sales, and also provides a
powerful step toward equity and criminal justice reform. It includes one of the nation’s most
comprehensive provisions on expungement and repair for communities most harmed by
prohibition or who are from areas of disproportionate impact. Hundreds of thousands of
people will be able to have their past marijuana records expunged.

“By committing to provide important relief to hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois with
past marijuana-related records, the state has prioritized equity and the removal of barriers that
prevent people from moving forward in their lives,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President of
Alliance for Safety and Justice. “We were proud to advocate for this important change that is
setting the standard for states across the nation to ensure fairness and safety for communities
that bore the disproportionate brunt of the drug war. We applaud Illinois leaders for their
attention to a reform that can repair some of the disproportionate impact to low-income Illinois
residents and communities of color.”

The growth of marijuana legalization across the country is shining a spotlight on the inequities
in marijuana enforcement that have left millions of people across the nation with unnecessary
criminal records. Illinois lawmakers demonstrated national leadership by legislatively
addressing the legacy of these counterproductive polices that disproportionately impact low-
income communities of color and fail to make communities safer.

Deputy Majority Leader Gordon-Booth, one of four women lawmakers that spearheaded the
bill, added:  “What we are doing here today is about repairing harm. After 40 years of treating
entire communities like criminals – here comes a multi-billion-dollar industry and black people
and people of color could have been left behind, as we have seen in other states.  But we
fought for you.”

“This is about every single one of you here in the state of Illinois.  This is about economic
justice, this is about reparations, this is about a new chapter. Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for
your leadership, and my fellow legislators. We made history.”

Rooks added: “The nation is in the midst of an important conversation on approaches to
equitable policy and criminal justice, and we need to understand that sound policies help us
achieve safety. Illinois is a model for how equity in criminal justice reform and smart safety
priorities build stronger and safer communities. Our country has an opportunity to right the
wrongs of tough-on-crime policies that have failed to make us safe and have wasted our
money. Illinois is setting an example for states across the nation.”

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Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a national organization that aims to win new safety
priorities in states across the country. ASJ partners with leaders and advocates to advance state
reform through networking, coalition building, research, education and advocacy. For more
information, visit: www.allianceforsafetyandjustice.org