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Legal Marijuana

Illinois to Become 11th State to Legalize Adult-Use Marijuana

The drive to legalize has stalled in New Jersey and New York but has surged forward in Illinois.
Illinois to Become 11th State to Legalize Adult-Use Marijuana
Image credit: Chicago Tribune | Getty Images
2 min read
This story originally appeared on Benzinga

Illinois lawmakers approved the legalization of non-medical marijuana May 31 and sent the measure to Gov. J.B. Pritzker who is expected to sign it, which will make the state the 11th in the country to allow recreational cannabis use.

What to know.

The legislation would allow residents 21 and older to legally be in possession of 30 grams of cannabis, five grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis.

Pritzker, who became governor in January, included legalization of marijuana in his platform when campaigning last year and has pushed the measure for fiscal reasons. He had banked on licensing and tax revenue to balance the state's budget.

The House passed the bill last Friday after the Senate approved it on Thursday.

Illinois would become the first state to legalize adult-use, or recreational, cannabis use through a proposal initiated in the legislature, rather than being required to do so by a voter initiative.

Related: Legalization Stalls In New Jersey Legislature

Why it's important.

The measure also calls for expungement of the records of people with prior convictions for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. It also calls for taxation of cannabis sales based on concentration.

It also decriminalizes home growing of small amounts of cannabis – replacing jail time with a fine – and allows home cultivation of small amounts for medical marijuana patients.

“This is a great day for the people of Illinois who soon will be able to exercise their right to wellness through access to safe and regulated cannabis," Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries Inc GTBIF told Benzinga. "The benefits of adult-use legalization are many: much-needed tax revenue, regulation to ensure safe products, criminal justice reforms to counteract the failed war on drugs, and an alternative to opioids and alcohol."

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