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Illinois To Become 11th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Dave Royse

Illinois lawmakers approved the legalization of non-medical marijuana and sent the measure Friday to Gov. J.B. Pritzker who is expected to sign it, making the state the 11th in the country to allow recreational cannabis use.

What To Know

The legislation would allow residents 21 and older to legally be in possession of 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis. Pritzker, who became governor in January, included legalization of marijuana in his platform when campaigning last year.

Pritzker also was pushing for the measure for financial reasons. He had banked on licensing and tax revenue to balance the state's budget.

The House passed the bill Friday after the Senate approved it on Thursday.

Illinois would become the first state to legalize adult-use, or recreational, cannabis use through a proposal initiated in the legislature, rather than being required to do so by a voter initiative.

Why It's Important

The measure also calls for expungement of the records of people with prior convictions for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. It also calls for taxation of cannabis sales based on concentration.

It also decriminalizes home growing of small amounts of cannabis – replacing jail time with a fine – and allows home cultivation of small amounts for medical marijuana patients.

“This is a great day for the people of Illinois who soon will be able to exercise their right to wellness through access to safe and regulated cannabis," Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF) told Benzinga. "The benefits of adult-use legalization are many: much-needed tax revenue, regulation to ensure safe products, criminal justice reforms to counteract the failed war on drugs, and an alternative to opioids and alcohol."

Related Links:

Why Illinois, New Jersey Governors Badly Need To Legalize Cannabis This Year

RegTalk: Illinois' Proposed Recreational Retail Marketplace - 6 Things You Really Should Know

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