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Steans, Hutchinson measure legalizing adult-use cannabis becomes law

legal cann signing 062519

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans celebrated the culmination of two years of work as her legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis became law today.

 

The new law includes the most comprehensive restorative justice measures of any state that has legalized cannabis, seeking to combat the disproportionate harm some communities suffered due to discriminatory drug policies and over-policing.

“I am proud to say that, by working with hundreds of stakeholders and spending years seeking community input, we have crafted the most just, well-regulated cannabis plan in the country,” Steans said. “This law keeps our children safe by prioritizing public safety, includes extensive restorative justice measures and brings in much-needed revenue for our state. I am thankful to all of my colleagues who stayed with me in this fight and to Gov. JB Pritzker for making it law.”

“One of the things that we wanted to make sure we accomplished with legalization was ensuring we put social equity at the center and the heart of our efforts, acknowledging that while we normalize and legalize something that is happening across the country, that we tie the direct nexus to the communities that the prohibition has hurt the most,” said Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), chief cosponsor in the Senate.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, adults 21 and older will be able to possess any combination of the following:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product

To prioritize restorative justice, the law allows for the automatic expungement of convictions dealing with amounts of cannabis under 30 grams. For convictions dealing with amounts of 30-500 grams, state’s attorneys or individuals can petition a court to vacate the conviction.

It invests significantly in communities harmed by discriminatory drug law, creating the Recover, Reinvest and Renew Program (R3) program to provide grants and assistance to those areas.

After agency administrative needs and costs related to expungement are covered, the remaining revenue from taxes and licensing fees will be distributed as follows:

  • 2% for public education and safety campaigns
  • 8% for law enforcement funds for prevention and training to be distributed through the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) formula
  • 25% for Recover, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program
  • 20% for programs that address preventative substance abuse programs and mental health services
  • 10% for the bill backlog
  • 35% or the remaining amount for the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF)

This law makes Illinois the first state in the country to legalize cannabis through the legislative process, rather than a ballot initiative.

The law is effective immediately, but the sale and possession of cannabis remain illegal until Jan. 1, 2020.