Cannabis has Officially Been Legalized in This Midwest State

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) has signed a bill into law that will see recreational cannabis legalized for adult use in the Land of Lincoln.

The bill was passed through both houses of the legislature late last month and received Pritzker's signature on Tuesday morning. A regulated market for the purchase and sale of cannabis will be established under the new bill. Adults 21 and older will now be allowed to buy, possess and consume cannabis in Illinois.

Only registered medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow their own cannabis at home, with a maximum of five plants.

During the signing ceremony, Pritzker said "the time for change has long since passed" and called the passing of the bill a "sea change" for Illinois.

"This legalization of adult use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do," said Pritzker.

The new bill comes with a number of social justice-oriented clauses. Individuals with possession charges of under 30 grams can qualify for automatic expungement, and expungement for possession of up to 500 grams may be sought in court. Individuals with violent crime convictions will not be eligible for expungement.

"Today we are giving hundreds of thousands of people the chance at a better life," Pritzker said.

25 percent of tax revenues generated by the legal sale of marijuana will be directed to the development of minority-owned businesses. An additional 20 percent will be directed towards substance abuse treatment and prevention programs. The remainder will be split between cannabis education (for the public and law enforcement) and towards paying off state debts.

Taxes will be set at a rate of 10 percent on products with THC (marijuana's intoxicating compound) levels of up to 35 percent; a 20 percent tax rate on all cannabis-infused products (think edibles and topicals); and a 25 percent tax rate on cannabis concentrates and products with THC levels above 35 percent. Local taxes can then be added on top of this, perhaps making for a particularly pricey legal weed market.

Local governments will be allowed to ban marijuana business from opening if they so choose and will also have the power to restrict cannabis operations to certain areas. Municipalities will not be able to prevent citizens from possessing cannabis. However, landlords will be able to have no cannabis policies and employers can still ban workers from using the substance.

The new law is set to go in to effect on Jan. 1, 2020, with retail cannabis sales allowed to commence on this day.

h/t Chicago Tribune

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