May 31, 2019

Illinois Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

May 31, 2019

Pending the Governor’s signature, the state of Illinois will be the next to legalize recreational/adult-use cannabis as the bill has now passed through both the House and the Senate.  Our colleagues at NORML have explained it well here…

Just prior to the closing of the 2019 legislative session, both chambers of the Illinois statehouse passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) to legalize cannabis and regulate it’s production, manufacture, and distribution.

“Cannabis criminalization in Illinois is coming to an end. While this bill isn’t perfect, it does provide a pathway for adults to legally obtain and consume cannabis. 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 those who have been most harmed by cannabis criminalization preference in establishing a foothold in this new industry,” said Illinois NORML Executive Director Dan Linn. “We are confidant 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.”

“Today’s outcome is the result of years of volunteers educating the public and lobbying lawmakers in Illinois. This process has not been easy but it does reflect what dedicated citizens can accomplish if they engage in the political process,” concluded Linn.

“We’re going to be able to look back five years from now and see that the quality of life in disadvantaged communities has been made better because of this legislation,” said Chicago NORML Executive Director Edie Moore.

NORML is committed to the mission of ending cannabis prohibition, and after decades of hard work by dedicated volunteers and activists from coast-to-coast that mission is in reach following the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) by the Illinois Statehouse.

It is expected that Governor Pritzker will sign the legislation.

This bill accomplishes many of NORML’s key goals. Most importantly, it removes cannabis from the hands of unregulated illicit marketers and ushers in a system where the product is tested, taxed, and otherwise regulated. It also takes important steps toward the goal of dealing with the disproportionate impact of the “War on Drugs” by giving those individuals and communities that have been impacted a fair chance to participate in this new industry. NORML is committed to social justice and equity and supportive of the fact that the bill intends to prioritize those issues. The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker have heard the voices of the vast majority of citizens across the state that support these important changes.

“With this action, Illinois will become the first state to legalize and regulate a commercial cannabis market for responsible adult consumers,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Today is a historic day.”


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