The state Senate moved Illinois a step closer to joining the 10 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults. Senators sent the House a measure that would allow residents age 21 and older to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product.
Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat who has been a longtime leader of efforts to legalize cannabis, said the two years of negotiation resulted in a bill that will establish “the new gold standard for doing this in the right social justice way.”Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington, one of three Republicans who voted in favor the bill, said that cannabis use is “largely a personal choice” and that he was satisfied the legislation met “the primary role of government.”
The bill would restrict homegrown plants for personal use to those who are licensed patients in the state’s medical marijuana program. They would be entitled to have five plants per household. The bill would also allow employers to maintain a “zero tolerance” policy for cannabis in the workplace and would create a task force through the Illinois State Police to examine ways to enforce DUI laws involving marijuana use.
After paying for regulatory expenses and costs related to the expungement process, marijuana revenue would be divided among a number of areas. The largest share, 35%, would go into the state’s general fund; 25% would go to community grants; 20% to mental health and substance abuse programs; 10% to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills; 8% to support law enforcement; and 2% for public education.
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