CHICAGO — A new legal group will help people with marijuana convictions in Illinois clear their records.

New Leaf Illinois launched earlier this month as part of the state’s law legalizing recreational cannabis.

Under the law, people with low-level marijuana convictions can have their records expunged and state officials estimate hundreds of thousands of people are eligible. New Leaf, a state-sponsored program, will help people do that.

Backers say it’s a critical step in undoing the damage done by a half-century of the war on drugs, which has particularly affected minorities, who were likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana offences.

The help is available statewide to “make sure that there was going to be that same level of advocacy for people statewide to be able to be freed of the collateral consequences of cannabis convictions,” said Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Peoria Democrat who helped write the law, according to WCIA -TV.

Sales of legal marijuana in Illinois began earlier this year.

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