Highly-anticipated bill legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and over expected soon

Last update: February 13, 2019


Lawmakers Sen. Heather Steans and Rep.. Kelly Cassidy continue to fine-tune legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in Illinois and tax and regulate cannabis similarly to alcohol, and we anticipate it will be introduced in the coming weeks. This continues work begun in early 2017 and follows numerous town halls around the state along with legislative committee hearings addressing particular areas of cannabis policy.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has made clear his continued strong support for an end to marijuana prohibition, giving an additional boost to Sen. Steans' and Rep. Cassidy’s efforts. MPP recently participated in the governor’s Restorative Justice and Safe Communities transition committee, which looks at the state’s cannabis policy and others impacting criminal justice reform.

A bill passed last year, SB 336, is now in effect, significantly improving the state medical cannabis program. Among several key changes, the measure allows anyone who could obtain a prescription for an opioid medication to get regulated access to medical cannabis. It also greatly streamlines the process by allowing applicants to get preliminary authorization with a physician’s recommendation, shortening wait times by several weeks. The program also no longer requires all applicants to submit fingerprints to the state health department. And finally, the state program no longer bars 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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