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Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Legalize Marijuana in the State

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Representative Kelly Cassidy wants to amend the Cannabis Control Act in Illinois. Her legislation would legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana, creating a system to regulate and tax use, possession and sales. Adults ages 21 and older would be permitted to grow, purchase and possess recreational marijuana.

Illinois would be the first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana if the legislation passes, according to The Intelligencer. Supporters believe that legalizing recreational marijuana in the state would help fight the state’s budget crisis. Wholesale marijuana would be taxed at $50 per ounce. Retail sales would pay the Illinois sales tax on every purchase.

Marijuana Policy Project projects that Illinois could bring in between $349 and $699 million annually in new revenue. In Cassidy’s proposal, half of wholesale revenue taxes would go to the state’s general fund. Thirty percent would be used for the state’s education sector and 20-percent for public health efforts.

Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2014 and decriminalized possession of up to 10-grams of marijuana in July of 2016.

Recent polls in the state show that voters do support legal recreational marijuana. Polls also show that voters in the state support decriminalization. They also see that legalizing recreational marijuana would bring much needed revenue to the state. The polls finds that 74-percent support fining simple marijuana possession offenders rather than jailing them. The same poll shows that 2/3 of the state’s voters are for legalizing and taxing marijuana recreationally.

The most support came from Democrats in the state, followed by independents. Younger generations and baby boomers are more supportive of recreational marijuana than elder generations. Chicago voters, by 74-percent, support regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol.

The House Rules Committee will review the legislation filed by Representative Cassidy.