House and Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation to the governor legalizing the adult use of cannabis and regulating its commercial production and retail sale. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzer is anticipated to sign the measure into law imminently.
Under the proposal, Illinois residents who are 21 or older may legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, while those visiting from out-of-state may legally possess half that amount. Those patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis access program will be permitted for the first time to legally home cultivate up to five marijuana plants. Non-patients face civil fines of no more than $200 for growing personal use quantities of cannabis. Under current law, minor marijuana cultivation offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
The bill also facilitates the expedited expungement of low-level minor convictions, while also establishing a process to vacate more serious offenses.
Under the plan, licensed medical dispensaries will have the first opportunity to engage in adult-use marijuana sales. New applicants will be able to access low-interest loans in order to defray start-up costs.
Once signed, the new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
Illinois will become the eleventh state to legalize adult use marijuana possession. It is only the second state to legalize marijuana use via legislative action (rather than by voter initiative) and it is the first state to legislatively regulate cannabis sales.
This piece first appeared on the NORML Blog.