Legalization bills now under consideration in Illinois!
Last update: March 22, 2017
On March 22, state lawmakers introduced legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in Illinois and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed for adult use.
The Senate bill, SB 316, is sponsored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago), while the House version, HB 2353, was presented by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). Each would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults. And it would create and enforce strict health and safety regulations, such as testing and labeling requirements and restrictions on marketing. For a summary of the proposed new law, click here. For a brief analysis of the revenue a tax-and-regulate approach Illinois could take, have a look at our analysis here.
In recent months, poll after poll after poll has shown that a clear majority of Americans are ready for a new, more sensible approach. By regulating adult use, the state can generate much-needed revenue for the state budget, replace the underground market with regulated businesses, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crime. Eight states have enacted laws regulating and taxing cannabis for adult use, some since 2012, and the sky has not fallen. It’s time for Illinois to end cannabis prohibition and stop missing out on the jobs and revenue other states already get!
Challenges continue in medical cannabis program
The state’s medical cannabis program improved last year when it was extended until at least July 2020, and both PTSD and terminal illness were added as qualifying medical conditions. But the state’s medical cannabis program also needs further improvement. Its failure to include severe or persistent pain as a qualifying medical condition leaves behind a huge number of seriously ill patients who would otherwise benefit. Many who should have more options have no choice but to turn to dangerous narcotic medications. We hope lawmakers will consider what an impact medical cannabis can have for those who live in pain. And, like in Colorado, it may be that many patients won’t get relief until the state legalizes cannabis use for adults.
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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