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Illinois Might Legalize Recreational Marijuana for the Fiscal Boost

Illinois Recreational Marijuana Use

Illinois could become the first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana, even if the main reason is to prevent the potential upcoming budget crisis. Last week, two lawmakers introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The possession limit would be a single ounce.

The lawmakers estimate that the new tax revenue from recreational marijuana could range between $350 and $700 million annually, according to ABC News. Estimates for the potential revenue was provided by Marijuana Policy Project using information from Illinois tax rates and the current recreational marijuana prices in Colorado. Illinois lawmakers are proposing a $50-per-ounce wholesale tax.

Representative Kelly Cassidy co-sponsored medical marijuana legislation in 2014. She is also sponsoring the current legislation that is in the House’s hands currently.

Cassidy said, “We’re talking about all sorts of ways of raising revenue. We might as well be talking about this, too.”

Cassidy worked with Senator Heather Steans to decriminalize marijuana possession last year. Those efforts were successful, but they think that their recreational marijuana legalization legislation may be a little harder to sell.

Representative Lou Lang said, “I do think this might be in Illinois’ future. I certainly support the idea of having a discussion.”

Dan Linn of Illinois NORML is prepared if and when discussions do begin. Linn supports legalization and views it as a means of eliminating the black market. Proper regulation is working in other states.

Linn said, “There’s not a drug dealer in this country that asks for an ID when someone’s looking to buy drugs.”

Dates for discussions regarding the legislation has not been set yet.