Illinois Capital

Daniel Schwen

Illinois Senate Advances Adult-Use Cannabis Bill

A tax-and-regulate legalization plan has advanced from the Illinois Senate to the House of Representatives. The bill has the support of Gov. J.B. Pritzker and, if fully approved, would make Illinois the 11th state to legalize cannabis for adult use.

Full story after the jump.

The Illinois Senate has approved the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which would establish a taxed-and-regulated marketplace in the state for adults who are 21 or older.

HB 1438, sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, passed the Senate in a 38-17 vote and is supported by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The proposal would legalize the possession and sale of up to 30 grams of cannabis flower and would allow for some expungement of prior cannabis convictions.

The bill had caught a snag over a proposed cannabis home-grow provision; that provision, however, was replaced by another provision allowing only registered medical cannabis patients to grow their own plants, and the bill advanced.

“One of the reasons we’re going to tax-and-regulate is to make sure you’re not getting product that’s got issues. By limiting that (home grow) significantly, you reduce the problems.” — State Sen. Heather Steans, via the Associated Press

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“MPP is proud to have worked hand-in-hand with state lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker to develop this historic legislation,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release. “This bill helps people remove the stigma and harm caused by prior cannabis possession convictions and creates opportunities for those who want to enter the new, regulated program.”

If the bill becomes law, adults could begin participating in the newly legal cannabis market as early as January 1, 2020 and Illinois would become the 11th state to pass legalization — and the first to approve a taxed-and-regulated marketplace via the state legislature instead of a ballot initiative.

“This is just one step of many in ending cannabis prohibition,” Dan Linn, executive director for NORML Illinois, said in a press release. “Even after this bill passes there will still be work to do to give adults in Illinois access to cannabis without having to purchase it from a limited amount of stores and cultivators.”

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