Illinois Legalizes Cannabis
On May 31, 2019 Governor J.B. Pritzker kept his vow of legalizing weed signing a bill to make it so.
That afternoon the Illinois House of Representatives passed the HB 1438 to legalize cannabis use for adults 21 years and older. This bill had already been passed by the Senate and just needed Governor Pritzker’s signature to become law.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Gov. Pritzker said while signing the bill, “The State of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it the most and giving so many a second chance.”
Supporters cheered as the acknowledgment of the prohibition of medical marijuana has failed and the freedom that this new bill brings, erasing decades of injustices on the prosecution of drug related crimes. The bill takes effect January 1st, allowing adults 21 years or older can legally posses a 30-day supply of cannabis which measures to one ounce, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. A tourist or nonresident can possess 15 grams of cannabis.
According to CannabisNow.com, this bill also includes a provision that has been designed to clear the criminal convictions of any marijuana offenders that do not have a history of violence. At its basic level, this means the law will clear those who have been caught in the past with pot possession.
This bill even goes further by forgiving those who have been convicted of the cultivation of cannabis and those who record are blemished with a “intent to deliver.” Resulting in those with past convictions getting their records cleared. However, these people must petition the courts for expungement as opposed to imply having their records automatically cleaned. Nevertheless, as many as 770,000 Illinois marijuana offenders could be forgiven as a result.
Drug law reforms celebrate this crucial milestone win for the Midwest, but says more work need to be done. “Cannabis criminalization in Illinois is coming to an end. While this bill isn’t perfect, it does provide a pathway for adults to legally obtain and consume cannabis. It also expands access and rights for qualified medical patients. Importantly, the bill provides much needed relief to those most harmed by the legacy of prohibition and emphasizes giving those who have been most harmed by cannabis criminalization preference in establishing a foothold in this new industry,” said Illinois NORML Executive Director Dan Linn as reported by Leafly.com.
He went on to say, “we are confident that this is the best bill we could get through the legislature at this time but are adamant that Illinois must enact additional protections in the future, in the particular the right of adults to homegrown personal use amounts of cannabis.”
With these new laws; like other states, Illinois will employ licensed adult-use retail outlets. With the sales of cannabis, it could net Illinois about $500 million annually. This means more money, more job opportunities and of course more amazing sessions. So cheers to Illinois and happy smoking!