Illinois Becomes 11th State To Legalize Marijuana

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Illinois Becomes 11th State Legislator To Legalize Marijuana

On Friday, May 31st, 2019 the Illinois House voted 66-47 to approve a bill, passed 2 days ago by the Illinois Senate, with a 38-17 vote that will send HB 1438 to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for final approval. It is expected that Governor Pritzker will sign the bill, as he campaigned on the initiative and is on record saying he will sign the bill into law.

With the passing of HB 1438, Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill will also make Illinois the first state to create a legal commercial marijuana industry through the legislature instead of through a voter initiative according to the Chicago Tribune. Most Illinois voters were in favor of marijuana legalization with recent polling by the Paul Simon Institute on Public Policy at SIU showing a majority of voters support marijuana decriminalization.

While special interest groups held the bill hostage for over two weeks, however legislators & interest groups were finally able to get the provisions for the needed votes for passage on the last day of the Illinois General Assembly’s session. In making concessions and compromising, lawmakers were able to push the legislation to the governor’s desk for approval, avoiding a 2/3rd’s majority approval if reintroduced after the session ended.

Related Article: Cannabis Legalization Being Held Hostage By Special Interest in Illinois

Receiving bi-partisan support in both the Illinois Senate and House, HB 1438 will take effect on January 1, 2020, and includes the following rights and/or amendments to current Illinois law as stated on the Illinois General Assembly website.

  • Provides that it is lawful for persons 21 years of age or older to possess, use, and purchase limited amounts of cannabis for personal use in accordance with the Act.
  • Authorizes registered qualifying patients to cultivate limited amounts of cannabis for personal use.
  • Provides for the regulation and licensing of various entities and occupations engaged in cultivation, dispensing, processing, transportation, and other activities regarding cannabis for adult use. 
  • Contains various provisions regarding a low-interest loan program for social equity applicants, investment in communities that have suffered because of drug policies, and the promotion of cannabis business ownership by individuals who have resided in areas of high poverty and high enforcement of cannabis-related laws.
  • Contains provisions regarding health and safety, packaging, advertising, local ordinances, providing financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business, and other matters.
  • Creates a Cannabis Cultivation Privilege Tax and a Cannabis Purchaser Excise Tax. Authorizes the imposition of a County Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax and a Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax. Provides for the allocation of revenues and creates various funds in the State treasury.
  • Repeals the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Tax Act. Contains home rule pre-emptions. Contains other provisions. Effective immediately.

The bill allows for Illinois residents 21 years of age or older to be able to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. Non-residents of Illinois will be allowed to legally possess up to 15 grams of cannabis.

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The bill also allows for local control over zoning issues related to dispensaries, including provisions to prevent them. A state task force will also be developed through the Illinois State Police to examine ways in regards to enforcement of DUI laws involving marijuana use. The Illinois Governor will also be able to pardon people with past convictions for low-level marijuana possession charges.

Multi-Million Dollar Revenue Expectations

Legalization of marijuana in Illinois is predicted to generate $57 million in general revenue for the coming budget year and predicted to generate $30 million for a development fund for cannabis businesses. Priority for the revenue will be to pay for regulatory expenses and expungement process costs first.

The remaining funds will be divided up in the following manner. A large portion, 35%, would go into the state’s general fund. Another 25% would go to community grants. 20% of revenue will go into mental health and substance abuse programs. Then 10% would pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, 8% to support law enforcement, and 2% for public education.

Stay tuned to Disciple 420 for more on the legalization of marijuana in Illinois and other cannabis news around the United States. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our other Disciple 420 news and reviews.


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