In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize cannabis for adult use, and the first in the country to adopt a regulatory system for cannabis cultivation, testing, and sales through a state legislature. It was a multi-year effort, and MPP was proud to work closely with the bill sponsors and government agencies over a period of years to reach this historic point.
Sales began on January 1, 2020, and despite a shortage of cannabis and only a few dozen stores open, state regulators estimated close to $11 million in sales the first week alone. Cannabis production is increasing to meet demand, new business licenses are being issued, and the regulated system will continue to ramp up during the year as consumers move from the underground to the regulated market.
Legalization in Illinois is also historic because of the extraordinary measures the state took to undo harms from the war on cannabis. It is estimated that around 740,000 marijuana cases will be eligible for automatic expungement, and the state’s innovative approach provides benefits for those who were impacted by the war on cannabis. Those who were arrested, jailed, charged, or convicted of a marijuana offense qualify for additional points on business applications and access to financial resources to start a business in the emerging cannabis industry. Tax revenues fund community benefits programs and key state priorities. It is truly a program Illinoisans can be proud of!