At Issue: Growing Demand For Drug-Case Expungements

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The head of an organization helping low-level offenders get their criminal records wiped clean says securing expungements for soon-to-be-legal marijuana cases will make demands skyrocket.

The numbers suggest hundreds of thousands of people across Illinois could be eligible to have their criminal records expunged for convictions for possessing or dealing in small amounts of recreational marijuana.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid Executive Director Esther Franco Payne expects to see many more requests from people for assistance.

Her not-for-profit group will be helping the Cook County State’s Attorney go through the cases. People with the most recent arrests are expected to have their cases handled first.

Expungement means a lot of people with past offenses because criminal records hinder them from getting jobs or housing.

The push to help previous low-level offenders comes as Illinois prepares to make recreational pot legal Jan. 1.

"At Issue" airs 9:30 p.m. Sunday.