On Tuesday Illinois voters elected Democrat and pro-recreational marijuana candidate J.B. Pritzker as the state's next governor. And now Pritzker says cannabis will be one of his highest priorities once he takes office.
In an interview yesterday, just one day after defeating incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, Pritzker said legalizing marijuana will be one of the first actions he focuses on when he takes office.
“That’s something we can work on nearly right away,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker also said he intends to vacate old marijuana convictions once the state legalizes recreational cannabis.
“I definitely want to look at all those arrest records. If we’re going to legalize recreational marijuana, then we shouldn’t have all the, what I think are, challenges in our criminal justice system, you know, still existing, people sitting in prison for things that are currently legal,” Pritzker said.
It's not quite clear where the Illinois legislature stands on marijuana legalization. While they've routinely expanded the state's medical marijuana program, they've never addressed recreational cannabis, although it's possible they knew Rauner was against it.
Currently both the Illinois House and Senate are controlled by Democrats, so Pritzker only needs to convince members of his own party to support legalization to accomplish his goals.
Unfortunately, Illinois will still only be the second midwestern state to legalize marijuana after Michigan did so on Tuesday.