Illinois Signs Off on Recreational Marijuana

26 Jun, 2019 Nancy Grover


Chicago, IL ( - “As the first state in the nation to fully legalize adult-use cannabis through the legislative process, Illinois exemplifies the best of democracy: a bipartisan and deep commitment to better the lives of all of our people." With that statement, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation making his state the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize recreational marijuana.

Beginning in January, adults over 21 may purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries — 30 grams of cannabis flower for Illinois residents and 15 grams for out-of-staters, in addition to other forms of the drug. The governor and other advocates are calling it the “most equity-centric law in the nation.”

“This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon and individual court action,” Pritzker said. “I'm so proud that our state is leading with equity and justice in its approach to cannabis legalization and its regulatory framework. Because of the work of the people here today and so many more all across our state, Illinois is moving forward with empathy and hope."

Among the provisions in H.B. 1438 are:

  • Creation of a $30 million low-interest loan program to help with start-up costs for entering the industry
  • A ‘social equity applicant’ status for licensing
  • Waiver of 50-percent of non-refundable license fees
  • Establishment of a grant program to “address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence, and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system”
  • Establishment of a DUI cannabis task force
  • Eligible expungement of some 700,000 records  

The state’s Department of Revenue projects new tax revenue and licensing fees of more than $57 million in fiscal year 2020. Tax revenue alone is expected to generate $140.5 million in FY21, $253.5 million in FY 22 and $323.5 million in FY23.

Meanwhile, the issue of workplace safety in Illinois and other states with legal recreational marijuana is on the minds of those at the National Safety Council.

 Safety shouldn’t be an afterthought during decriminalization discussions,” the NSC said in a statement. “With research and data collection, safety needs to be an integral part of the decriminalization and legalization process. As the legislation has passed, the council supports the simultaneous passage of updated laws restricting marijuana-impaired driving and marijuana impairment in the workplace.”

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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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