Law enforcement making changes after recreational marijuana becomes legal

Law enforcement making changes after recreational marijuana becomes legal

WABASH CO., Ill. (WFIE) - Under the new law, state officials estimate thousands of low-level convictions are now eligible to be cleared.

The new law is putting an unexpected strain on the Wabash County Sheriff's Office.

State officials estimate that 116,000 convictions involving 30 grams or less of marijuana will need to be cleared from arrest records across the state.

After talking with the Wabash County Sheriff's Office, it's going to be a process that is going to take some time.

“It’s just something new that was going to have to learn to deal with,” says the Wabash County Sheriff Derek Morgan.

Over 24 hours into the New Year, and law enforcement like the Wabash County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois is already feeling overwhelmed.

“We’re a small county, and so I could just imagine what that larger counties are going to have to deal with when it comes to expunging records for cannabis,” explains Morgan.

With this new law passing, low-level marijuana convictions will be pardoned and expunged.

"We don't currently have anybody in our jail for under 30 grams or less," said Morgan.

For the Wabash County Sheriff Office, their workload may seem lessened without having to pardon anyone, but don't be fooled.

“With the courts, we’ll just have to pull cases from I guess the last 50 years or so and start the expungement process,” Morgan says.

Just the last 50 years and this department has four deputies to sift through it all. They don't plan on hiring anyone else.

The Wabash County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have an exact number or the names of those who will be expunged.

They say, this will be a long process for them to clear those marijuana convictions and aren’t sure when this will be finished.

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