Illinois Governor JB Pritzker proposes to legalize recreational marijuana by the end of the year. The controversial new bill has been the in works for some time now and was a key campaign point for the governor, says Gaurav Mohindra.
The proposed legislation would permit adults, those over the age of 21, to purchase recreational marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Currently, the state of Illinois only permits approved patients to purchase marijuana from a medical dispensary. The new legislation will now provide marijuana access to all adult residents and non-residents of the state.
Residents would be able to hold as much as 30 grams of marijuana and would be permitted to grow up to 5 plants at home. Non-residents would be permitted to hold as much as 15 grams of marijuana.
The Governor and supporting lawmakers made it a point to note that the legislation is equity-centric, says Gaurav Mohindra. The proposal includes expunging hundreds of thousand marijuana convictions, permitting people with past convictions to work in the marijuana industry and provide a $20 million low-interest loan program for minority-owned businesses.
The Governor further discussed the impact that the projected tax revenues would have on the state. He noted that a significant portion of the revenues, 25%, would go directly into communities that have been impacted by the prosecution of drug laws. He projected that nearly 20% of the revenue would go towards substance abuse and mental health, 35% would go towards the state’s General Revenue Fund, and 10% would go towards a portion of the state’s unpaid bills.
Currently, a number of states have taken a position on the legalization of marijuana. Many states have adopted policy and laws around the medicinal use of marijuana. If the proposed legislation passes, Illinois would become the 11th state to permit the use of recreational marijuana. Illinois would join Michigan, as another Midwest state to permit the use of recreational marijuana.
Gaurav Mohindra: The proposed legislation is referred to as Senate Bill 7 and specifies the amounts in which people may consume the product and the policies around licensing dispensaries and growers. It is likely that the bill may be further refined in certain areas prior to becoming law – but the fact that the Governor has already put forward this position illustrates his desire to see legalized marijuana become law in the near future. In recent polling, there seems to be widespread support for legalization.