Illinois legalizes adult-use marijuana on the fast track

Category: cannabis, marijuana

Illinois legalizes adult-use marijuana on the fast track


Late last month, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation making Illinois the 11th state (plus Washington DC) to legalize adult-use marijuana (sometimes referred to as recreational use marijuana). The full text of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act can be found here and the summary of the act can be found here.

The legislation is particularly interesting because of the attention given to social justice issues created by the prohibition of marijuana in the state. Besides legalizing the adult use of marijuana, the act:

  • includes automatic expungement for cannabis offenses,
  • allows medical patients to grow cannabis at home,
  • differentiates between ‘craft growers’ (which can grow up to 14,000 square feet of space, and have a licensed dispensary on site, akin to a craft brewpub) and ‘cultivation centers’ (which can grow up to 210,000 square feet of space),
  • creates a cannabis business development fund for start-ups in the industry,
  • allows local colleges to create cannabis licensing-focused educational programs,
  • offers significant benefits to communities hit hardest by inequities during the 'war on cannabis.'

Illinois’ new law is on the fast track to reality, with adult-use sales beginning on January 1, 2020. It will be interesting to see if Illinois’ fast-tracked, progressive approach will inspire other states (including Tennessee) to enact socially responsible and constructive cannabis laws in the near future.

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