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Illinois Could Legalize Cannabis in Time for Summer, Says Gov. Pritzker

After being elected on a platform to legalize recreational cannabis, Governor JB Pritzker (D) says the people of Illinois won't have to wait too much longer for legal weed.

Last Thursday, Pritzker said he hopes to pass a legalization bill before the end of the spring legislative session. That gives him about seven weeks to tackle cannabis prohibition.

"I think the bill that will get introduced and passed is going to be a very, very strong good bill," Pritzker told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Pritzker said that as a parent himself, he understands that people have some concerns about the potential impact of cannabis legalization on young people. However, he believes that he has done a "reasonable" amount of research on what has worked in other states and promised that legalization will not lead to an uptick in teen use.

"I have teenagers, and I was very concerned....I asked a lot of questions about how does this affect teen use," Gov. Pritzker said. "And in Washington state—where that was the governor's big concern there too—they did a very good job of showing there was no increase in teen use."

However, Pritzker also admitted that legalization is not likely to be perfect right away, and his administration will be actively looking for place to improve regulations.

"With legislation, nothing is perfect and so yes, along the way, it'll improve."

Both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) have also vowed to legalize recreational cannabis in their respective states this year, though neither have been successful in doing so just yet. If Pritzker succeeds, Illinois would become the 11th state to allow cannabis for adult use and the first state to do so this year. Illinois would not be the first US jurisdiction to legalize cannabis this year, however. That honor goes to the island territory of Guam, which legalized cannabis for adult use via the territory's legislature just last week.


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