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Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Introduced by Illinois Governor

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Governor Pritzker isn’t wasting any time moving on legalizing recreational marijuana for adults ages 21 and older in Illinois. Legalization would take effect on January 1, 2020. The legislation comes with a provision to automatically expunge certain previous marijuana convictions.

If the plan does become law, adult residents could possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, Rolling Stone says. Adult visitors could possess up to ½ ounce.  The state would license qualified marijuana retailers in the state.

Licenses would be issued between May and July 2020 for the state’s recreational marijuana retailers, processors and cultivators.

The legislation was introduced to the state Legislature on Monday.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton said, “This bill advances equity by providing resources and second chances to people and communities that have been harmed by policies such as the failed ‘war on drugs.”

To help recreational marijuana businesses get started on the right foot, a low-interest loan program would be in place. The loan program would be funded with $20 million dollars. Potential licensees from “disproportionately impacted areas” would be given higher priority for the funding.

Illinois needs the revenue and the residents have spoken. Some of the tax revenue from sales would go toward paying overdue state bills, mental health treatment programs, substance abuse programs, public education, awareness and grants for law enforcement.