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Push to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Still on in Illinois

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Recreational marijuana legalization in Illinois won’t be happening this year, but lawmakers are expecting to pick the discussion back up in January. Two bills, by Senator Heather Steans and Representative Kelly Cassidy were introduced but not voted on this session. However, this was done intentionally. The lawmakers want to give others time to obtain feedback.

New versions of legislation will be drafted and introduced in the next legislative session, according to DNA Info. The lawmakers want to ensure that a proper tax structure and proper regulations are in place first. After the new bill is introduced, a public hearing will be held.

Senator Steans said, “We are doing it in the way that makes the most sense.”

The original legislation calls for adult possession, grow rights and purchases of small amounts of marijuana. Labeling and marketing regulations would be strict for businesses. The wholesale tax would be $50 per ounce.

Personal purchases would be taxed at 6.25-percent, which is the state’s standard sales tax rate. Residents would be allowed to purchase up to an ounce and grow up to 5 plants. Out-of-state residents would be permitted to purchase and possess ½ ounce.

The legislation is also being introduced in an effort to stop the black market. It is estimated that legal marijuana could bring up to $350-million in revenue to the state annually.

Some of that tax revenue would be to help fund public schools and substance abuse prevention programs and treatment.

Governor Rauner promises that he’ll consider the legislation but isn’t sure if it’s the right path for the state.