Illinois becomes 11th state to legalize marijuana!

Last update: June 25, 2019


On June 25, 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made history, by signing into law the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA)! The Illinois House and Senate had approved the CRTA in late May. Adults 21 and older will be allowed to possess and purchase cannabis starting on January 1, 2020.

With the governor’s signature, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to approve legal sales through the state legislature rather than a ballot measure. MPP is proud to have played a crucial role in drafting and advancing the CRTA.

The CRTA legalizes the possession and purchase of up to 30 grams of marijuana for adults who are Illinois residents (for visitors, the limits are half that) and establish an inclusive, regulated market for cultivators, processors, retail stores, and testing labs. Cities can also opt-in to having on-site cannabis consumption (cannabis cafés). Check out our summary for more details.

Crafting a bill that could get past the finish line involved a long and difficult negotiation process. Although we weren’t able to get everything we hoped to see (such as home cultivation for adults and delivery), the bill is an enormous step forward. It will help hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans and set a new standard for addressing the harms caused by decades of marijuana prohibition.

The CRTA includes far-reaching expungement provisions, funding for communities hard-hit by the drug war, and assistance to business applicants operated by those harmed by prohibition or from areas of disproportionate impact. It also legalizes home cultivation for patients. You can learn more about the bill’s criminal justice reform and social equity provisions here.

This victory is the result of a collective effort, and there are so many to thank for their support: MPP staffer Chris Lindsey; MPP donors who made our years-long advocacy effort possible; legislative champions Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and Rep. Jehan Gordon; Gov. Pritzker; our dedicated lobbyists Pete Baroni and Kareem Kenyatta; Sen. Steans’ cannabis policy staffer Rose Ashby; Clergy for a New Drug Policy; and all the individuals and organizations who worked to move the legislation forward.

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