Illinois Senate Passes Recreational Marijuana Bill
State House will now vote on bill that would allow state residents 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis
The Illinois Senate approved a bill legalizing marijuana on Wednesday — a major step toward becoming the 11th U.S. state allowing recreational pot use. The measure, which passed in a 38-to-17 vote, now needs House approval by the Friday deadline before heading to the desk of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who helped announce the bill with other lawmakers in early May.
Starting January 1st, 2020, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act would allow Illinois residents 21 or older to legally purchase and possess any combination of up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product.
The bill also includes a social-justice provision that would expunge an estimated 800,000 drug convictions involving up to 30 grams of cannabis. For amounts ranging from 30 to 500 grams, individuals or the state attorney can petition the court. Revenue generated from Illinois’ marijuana industry would be reinvested into communities impacted by what lawmakers called discriminatory drug enforcement in the U.S.
Taxation would operate on a scaled system: Cannabis flower with under 35 percent THC would be at 10 percent; cannabis-infused products at 20 percent; and marijuana products with over 35 percent THC at 25 percent. This would be in addition to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, and local jurisdictions could create an additional 3.5 percent tax, Marijuana Moment reports.
Revenue generated from legal cannabis would be routed as follows: 35% into the state’s general operating fund; 25% for a new Restoring Our Communities fund, distributed as grands to communities that have “suffered the most because of discriminatory drug policies”; 20% for mental health and substance abuse treatment; 10% for unpaid bills; eight percent for law enforcement training grants and two percent for public drug education.
If approved, dispensaries would receive their licenses by May 1st, 2020, while processors, growers and transporters would earn theirs by July 1st.
The crux of the legislative debate came down to the issue of home-growing. The original proposal allowed adults to grow up to five plants per household (with permission from the landowner) in a locked room out of public view — but that provision, now amended, only applies to the state’s 65,000 medical marijuana patients, who are currently unable to grow.
Source : Ryan Reed
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