Bill Introduced to End Marijuana Prohibition in IL

Tabitha Dunn
March 24, 2017

Senate Bill 316, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and an amendment to House Bill 2353, presented by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, would make it legal for those 21 and older to possess, grow and buy limited amounts of marijuana in the state.

IL now does allow the sale of medical marijuana, however there are still laws and penalties for possessing, growing and selling marijuana outside of the regulated medical program.

The Illinois legislation would impose a $50 per ounce tax at the wholesale level, while sales to the public would be subject to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax.

Legalizing recreational marijuana could be one way IL tries to chip away at its deficit. According to the article, The Marijuana Policy Project, a national advocacy group, estimates IL could generate about $350 million to $700 million in legalized marijuana sales based on the numbers from Colorado. Last year, legal sales reached $7 billion and generated half a billion dollars in sales taxes.

"The tax revenue comes right away", Pacula said.

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As with any new industry, marijuana can be regulated, but there are so many variables, such as what pesticides should be allowed, Pacula said, so there should be provisions for new laws to expire or be changed along the way.

An Illinois law creating a medical cannabis pilot program went into effect in 2013.

Those in favor said it will add millions of dollars in revenue to the state. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police has said it does not support the concept of legalization, as they believe it to be a threat to public health and safety.

Conversation at Tuesday's press conference focused largely on a new report released by Regulate Rhode Island entitled "Now is the Time: Why Rhode Island should legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in 2017". "I think we've studied this issue long and hard and our neighbors are moving forward".

Colorado passed the nation's premiere recreational marijuana law in 2012 and opened its first non-medical dispensaries in January 2014. "It's a realistic approach".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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