Saturday morning, the South Side of Chicago welcomed Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other leading cannabis-reform democrats for a much-anticipated release of their finalized adult-use bill that could soon end prohibition in Illinois.
Social equity and reversing the harm caused by the War on Drugs was the key-topic during the press conference held at the offices of the Black United Fund; lawmakers highlighted the need for minority-owned businesses and expungement policies that erase minor cannabis convictions.
“From the outset, I made clear that any plan for adult use cannabis had to prioritize social justice and equity, and I’m proud that Illinois is going to have the most equity-centric law in the country,” tweeted Gov. Pritzker.
The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act would legalize cannabis for adult use in Illinois, and provides details for home cultivation, taxation, future licensing, and distribution of tax revenue. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Under certain restrictions, Illinois residents can cultivate up to 5 flowering plants within their own homes.
Tax revenue distribution:
- 20% of tax revenue will be invested into substance abuse and mental health services
- 25% revenue will directly go back into the communities that have been most negatively impacted by drug laws & the criminal justice system
- A grant program, titled “Restoring Our Communities” will be used to invest in communities that have suffered the most from discriminatory drug policies
- A $20 million low-interest loan program for businesses that meet any of the following:
- Majority ownership and control by residents from areas that have disproportionately been impacted by the War on Drugs
- 51% ownership and control by people arrested or convicted for low-level cannabis offenses
Possession limits for Illinois residents:
- 30 grams of cannabis flower
- 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
With detailed plans to reverse the harm caused by the War on Drugs, the plan to legalize adult-use cannabis under the current amendment has already received support from the ACLU of Illinois – an influential minority-focused nonprofit dedicated to criminal justice reform.
“We applaud Governor Pritzker, Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy for their diligence and tireless commitment to this effort. For too many years, criminalization of marijuana possession has damaged lives and communities across Illinois. It is time for rational policy,” wrote Khadine Bennet, Dir. of Intergovernmental Affairs of ACLU Illinois in a press release posted this morning.
Legalization is set to take effect on January 1, 2020 – but the bill will first need to receive majority approval from both the House and Senate.
Stay tuned for updates on Illinois cannabis reform.