Tarver, Buckner introduce bills to refine marijuana ordinance

Rep. Tarver (left) and Rep. Buckner (Herald file photos)

Staff writer

Hyde Park-Kenwood’s state representatives have long been vocal about the need to refine Illinois’ legalization of marijuana, and both introduced legislation to that end late last year that may be considered in the legislature’s spring session.

On Dec. 27, State Rep. Curtis Tarver II (D-25th), who represents Hyde Park east of Ellis Avenue and southern Kenwood east of Woodlawn Avenue, filed House Bill (HB) 4009, which would amend the Juvenile Court Act to expunge law enforcement records of people who committed cannabis-related violations before turning 18.

His bill would also require law enforcement agencies to allow access, review and confirmation of automatic expungement. Circuit court clerks would similarly expunge people’s juvenile court records.

“Young people who have cannabis-related convictions on their records should not be blocked from jobs and educational opportunities when adults throughout the state are now able to legally purchase cannabis,” Tarver said in a statement. “It is essential that we continue to work so that communities that have been negatively affected by the war on drugs are given a second chance to thrive, and that starts with making sure that young people, especially young black and brown men, are given the opportunity to get these offenses taken off their records.”

Tarver has been keen on social justice legislation affecting people with criminal records throughout his first term in the Illinois House.

Last January, Tarver proposed legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Kambium Buckner (D-26th), who represents the rest of Hyde Park-Kenwood, that would have automatically expunged law enforcement and juvenile court records if the underlying charges were not violent crimes, but that legislation did not pass. He also worked on Senate Bill 1780, which passed into law, making it a civil rights violation to refuse or alter a real estate transaction with someone because of an arrest record.

In November, Buckner introduced HB 3953, the Cannabis Banking and Credit Union Act, which would create state-licensed financial institutions to provide banking services to cannabis businesses.

Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, the cannabis industry largely operates on a cash basis because it is not permitted to work with federally licensed financial institutions. Buckner’s bill would allow a person or entity to act as a licensed, insured, cannabis-limited charter bank or credit union through which the pot industry could pay state and local taxes and fees, rent, vendors and bonds.

The Herald could not reach Buckner for comment.

The General Assembly reconvenes later this month.