Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) into law Tuesday morning in Austin on Chicago's West Side, making Illinois the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into a law a bill that legalizes the possession, purchase and sale of cannabis and allows for the expungement of low-level cannabis convictions. "This legalization of adult use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it's the right thing to do".
Pritzker was joined by a host of elected officials, including Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, state Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, both Chicago Democrats, have dampened that prediction, lowering estimates to $58 million in the first year and $500 million annually within five years. No more would be allowed to open after that until the state conducts a review of the rollout.
It allows residents over the age of 21 to possess 30 grams of marijuana and sets up a regulated retail scheme. Nonresidents will be able to purchase half of each of those amounts. IL is now the eleventh state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, although the drug remains illegal under federal law. Marijuana-related tax revenue is estimated to climb to $140.5 million in fiscal 2021 and to $375.5 million in fiscal 2024, according to Illinois' revenue department. An additional 302,000 records are eligible for individuals or State's Attorneys to file motions with the courts.
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"In the past 50 years, the war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities", Pritzker said. "We look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure the broadest relief possible under this revolutionary law".
The measure establishes a grant program - the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew Program - to help communities affected by the War on Drugs and a $30 million low-interest loan program for qualified applicants who wish to start a licensed cannabis business.
Supporters of the bill called it the most equity-centric legalization proposal in the nation as the state became the first in the U.S.to pass a comprehensive legalization package through the legislature rather than a ballot initiative.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes in IL was authorized starting in 2014.