Cannabis legalization is sweeping across North America like wildfire these days. Canada made cannabis legal for recreational purposes last year, and Illinois now is the 11th American state to follow suit.
Everyone expected New York to become the next state in America to legalize cannabis recreationally, but they were wrong. In a surprising turn of events, Illinois just legalized cannabis for recreational purposes, making it the 11th state in the U.S. to do so. Lawmakers finished drafting the legalization proposal just days ago and immediately sent it to be signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
The bill, known as HB 1438, passed in the house by 66 to 47 votes. It allows people aged 21 and older to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis. Pritzker proudly told reports before the weekend, “The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance.”
Tourists visiting the state will be entitled to carry up to 15 grams of cannabis, and those with previous criminal records living in the state will have them bleached. Illinois NORML is a lobby group based in the state who’ve been campaigning for medical cannabis for a long time.
Their mission statement says they are “Located in Springfield where we put democracy in action for cannabis policy reform. Join social activists from across the state.” NORML’s Executive Director Dan Linn said according to the same report, “Cannabis criminalization in Illinois is coming to an end.” While this bill isn’t perfect, it does provide a pathway for adults to obtain and consume cannabis legally.
It also expands access and rights for qualified medical patients. Importantly, the bill provides much-needed relief to those most harmed by the legacy of prohibition and emphasizes giving them preference in establishing a foothold in this new industry.”
He also spoke about the fact that Illinois residents want the right to be able to cultivate cannabis in the comfort of their own homes. This would be a great move for consumers who traditionally pay way above the odds for properly grown, top-shelf cannabis. “We are confident that this is the best bill we could get through the legislature at this time, but are adamant that Illinois must enact additional protections in the future, in particular, the right of adults to home-grow personal use amounts of cannabis,” he added.
A recent study carried out by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute found that the recreational legalization of cannabis in the state would create around 25,000 new jobs and could generate a massive $500 million in taxes.
According to some of the most ‘out there’ estimates, Illinois could see a state economy for cannabis in the region of $1 billion within just a year and a half! That would depend on the specifics of the bill in terms of things like edible cannabis products, but the figure stated is not unrealistic. Lawmakers in Illinois have kept and are still keeping a close eye on Colorado to see how legalization is panning out there.
Things are going exceptionally well for cannabis legalization in Colorado, and that makes residents and lawmakers in Illinois feel relaxed about the new and historic move to give people full rights to cannabis in the state.