Cannabis reform candidate J.B. Pritzker wins governor’s race


Last update: December 3, 2018


J.B. Pritzker was elected the state’s next governor on November 6, 2018 and will take office in January! This is excellent news for the future of cannabis reform in the state, as Governor-elect Pritzker made the legalization of cannabis for adults 21 and over a priority of his campaign. MPP was recently invited to participate in his Restorative Justice and Safe Communities transition committee, which looks at the state’s cannabis policy and others impacting criminal justice reform.

Lawmakers continue to fine-tune a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in Illinois and tax and regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol. Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced a bill in 2017, and a new bill is expected late this year or early in January. It is likely that by the time lawmakers meet in 2019, they will have a comprehensive and carefully vetted legalization program for lawmakers to consider, and we believe it will have the governor’s support.

Earlier this year, the state’s current governor, Gov. Bruce Rauner, signed SB 336 into law, significantly improving the state medical cannabis program. Among several key changes, the measure would allow anyone who could obtain a prescription for an opioid medication to get regulated access to medical cannabis. It would also greatly streamline the process by allowing applicants to get preliminary authorization with a physician’s recommendation, shortening wait times by several weeks. The program will also no longer require all applicants to submit fingerprints to the state health department. And finally, the state program will no longer bar those with criminal histories from access to medical cannabis. The new law represents an incredible series of improvements. For more information on how to register as a patient, or to see announcements from state program officials, follow this link.

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