Illinois is the 11th U.S. state to legalize adult-use cannabis use and sales, and the first to do so legislatively. Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) 66-47 May 31— is law. The Illinois Legislature has set a standard of excellence with this bill that other states seeking to pass similar legislation should follow. Illinois has put in place a set of equity provisions that should serve as a national model for other state legislatures grappling with how to redress the harm caused to communities targeted in the drug war.
The bill mandates that starting Jan. 1, 2020, individuals 21 and older can legally possess up to 30 grams of flower, five grams of THC concentrate and five grams of THC in a marijuana-infused product. The state must establish a regulatory structure to license and regulate dispensaries, processors, cultivation centers, craft growers and transporters. Registered medical marijuana patients would be able to cultivate up to five plants at home under the bill. The measure also includes expungement provisions that allow past convictions for possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis to be cleared automatically. For cases involving greater than that—up to 500 grams—individuals and the state’s attorneys would be able to petition a court to vacate the convictions.
The law provides a pathway for adults to legally obtain and consume cannabis. It also expands access and rights for qualified medical patients. Importantly, the bill provides much-needed relief to those most harmed by the legacy of prohibition and emphasizes giving those who have been most harmed by cannabis criminalization preference in establishing a foothold in this new industry.
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