Anyone aged 21 or over can now purchase up to 30g of cannabis flower, 5g of concentrate and edibles and other derivatives with up to 500mg THC content. A regulated industry will be rolled out across the state and Pritzker has earmarked 170 million in revenue from taxing the industry in the 2020 financial year.
It sees him deliver upon one of his major campaign promises, while sports betting is also set to be legalized, ushering in a brave new world for Illinois residents.
HB 1438 cleared the Senate following a 38-17 vote on May 30 and gained approval from the House the following day. Legalization will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and retailers will be able to build up an inventory between now and then.
Ten other states and the District of Columbia have previously legalized adult-use marijuana, but Illinois is the first to do so through the legislature. The others have all legalized it via a ballot process. Vermont is now poised to follow in Illinois’ footsteps by legalizing recreational cannabis use through its legislature.
Around 800,000 people in Illinois will now expect to have criminal records for purchasing or possessing up to 30g of cannabis expunged. This should make it easier for them to secure employment and housing.
Pritzker noted that the war on cannabis has destroyed families, needlessly filled prisons with nonviolent offenders and disproportionately penalized black and Hispanic communities. “Signing this bill into law won’t undo the injustices of the past or make whole the lives that were interrupted,” said Pritzker after a signing ceremony in Chicago. “We can’t turn the clock back — but we can turn the page.”
The state will charge a 10% tax on cannabis with a THC level up to 35%, a 20% tax on all cannabis-infused products and 25% tax on marijuana with a THC level above 35%. A quarter of the revenue will go to communities disproportionately affected during the prohibition, while a further 20% will be diverted towards substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care.
The state is also creating a new $30 million low-interest loan program to create opportunity for entrepreneurs in the communities who “deserve it most”.