Lawmakers in Illinois will unveil recreational cannabis legalization legislation this week with the full support of Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), according to a Crain’s report.
The measure will be sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Heather Steans and in the House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who noted that, if the measure is successful, Illinois would become the first state to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis sales via the legislature.
“This bill stems from an inclusive process that entailed community meetings, town halls, and legislative working groups. In spite of having a wide variety of views, most of us wanted the same basic things—social justice, safety for our kids and revenue for our state. I think we’ve done a good job of balancing these three goals.” – Steans, in a statement via Crain’s
The bill includes implementing a $20 million low-interest loan fund for social equity applicants – individuals from communities most impacted by the so-called War on Drugs. The fund would initially receive $12 million from the existing medical cannabis fund. Under the law, 25 percent of tax revenues derived from the industry would be reinvested into those communities.
Pritzker has long supported cannabis legalization in the state. Shortly after his election, he told NPR that he wanted Illinois to be the first state in the Midwest to legalize cannabis, despite Michigan voters giving the state a head start by approving legalization in 2016. In Michigan, regulators are still drafting rules.
It’s estimated that cannabis-derived tax revenues would be between $200 million and $500 million in Illinois annually.
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