Governor J.B. Pritzker made history today by signing The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act into law. The move makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize cannabis for adult use, and the first state to legalize the production and sale of adult-use cannabis through its state legislature rather via a ballot initiative.
“I’m so proud that our state is leading with equity and justice in its approach to cannabis legalization and its regulatory framework,” said Pritzker to a group of reporters.
The signing, which took place at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center in Chicago, signals as an end to the devastation the War on Drugs have had on the communities and people of Illinois. Now, lawmakers will be tasked with ensuring those communities and people will be proportionately included as the state welcomes a recreational market that could eclipse $2 billion in sales as early as 2020.
Sponsors of the bill are hopeful the legislation will positively impact communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs with the inclusion of expungement of minor cannabis offenses, low-interest loan programs for social equity applicants, and a calculated distribution of tax revenue generated by cannabis sales.
“We have created an approach that revolves around finding a way to inject equity into the industry,” stated Rep. Kelly Cassidy in a recent interview with Cheddar.
Cassidy, as well as State Senator Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, served as integral parts of the passing of HB 1438, earning them the recent title of Marijuana Moms.
Revolution Enterprises CEO Mark de Souza congratulated officials in a statement:
“Governor Pritzker and our legislative leaders have recognized through this law that any opportunity to advance the legal cannabis industry must also address how the war on drugs continues to afflict communities,” de Souza said. “By removing thousands of cannabis misdemeanors and producing thousands of jobs across the state, our political leaders have done an extraordinary service to jumpstart communities across Illinois.”
With adult use sales commencing on Jan 1st, 2020, an influx of new jobs are expected to hit the industry in the coming months, along with a fresh revenue stream for the Prairie State.