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Illinois governor clears thousands of marijuana convictions

The expungements are required by the new law, which made Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 5, 2019, file photo, Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in downtown Chicago.

Illinois' governor has granted more than 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions, one day before the state's new law permitting broad use and sale of cannabis takes effect. 

Gov. JB Pritzker granted the pardons on Tuesday at a church on Chicago's south side. He says the expungements of misdemeanor offenses will help people seeking jobs, housing and financial aid for college.

Pritzker's office says 92 counties are represented in the cases. The expungements are required by the new law, which made Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana. The law emphasizes repairing damage during previous enforcement of the drug ban, particularly on minority communities.