You can now purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of usable marijuana at a time. Illinois becomes the 11th state in the United States to legalize recreational cannabis.
Illinois has recently legalized the sale, and use of recreational marijuana for adults after governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that also advocates the erasing of about 770,000 previous marijuana-related convictions.
Governor J.B. Pritzker said:
“In the past 50 years, the war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities.”
“Each year, law enforcement across the nation has spent billions of dollars to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. Yet its consumption remains widespread.”
The new law is a significant victory for cannabis activists who incorporated “social justice” initiatives into the measure. With the governor’s signature, the new law is the first of its kind passed by the state legislature and signed by a governor.
Illinois has over 12 million residents, and it’s the second-most-populous state to legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults use, solely through the legislative process. It’s also among the first to authorize the retail sale of the substance legislatively.
Mason Tvert, the current communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project in Colorado, said:
“This is a major milestone for the movement to end marijuana prohibition in the United States. It is the clearest sign yet that lawmakers are catching up with the people on this issue.”
“A strong and steadily growing majority of Americans support legalization, and observers have wondered when it would start translating into major victories in state legislatures. Illinois just answered that question.”
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. But since 2014, prosecutors have ignored the sale of the substance in 10 states that had already legalized its use.
Other than Illinois, other states that permit marijuana for recreation use include Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia.
In all these states, except Vermont, lawmakers approved the legalization of cannabis.
Vermont’s law only allows personal growth and use, but not the sale of the substance.
Illinois residents may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents may have 15 grams.
The law permits cannabis purchases by adults above 21 years of age at approved dispensaries, which, after they’re licensed and established, may start selling on January 1st, 2020.
However, the possession of the substance remains a crime until January 1st, a spokesman for Senate Democrats said.
At the bill-signing event, Pritzker said:
“This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon, and individual court action.”
“Today, we’re giving hundreds of thousands of people a chance at a better life.”
Marijuana consumers will be paying up to 37.75 percent tax on their purchases, depending on the potency of the substance.
Regulators will offer preference points to members of the minority group seeking to get business permits. State-certified labs will also test the products for contaminants and potency, which have been a great concern among cannabis users.
Marijuana advocates argued that the legalization of the substance would increase state revenues and create job opportunities in the surrounding communities.
A member of the marijuana trade group National Cannabis Industry Association, Kris Krane, said that Illinois’ decision will pave the way for other states to legalize the substance.