Illinois Governor Introduces Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Correction: Marijuana Legalization-Illinois story

Gov. Announces Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

His name is Kevin Sabet, not Samet.

Illinois Govenor J.B. Pritzker made the announcement Saturday morning at the Black United Fund of Illinois on Chicago's South Side.

"We are taking a major step forward to legalize adult use cannabis and to celebrate the fact that IL is going to have the most equity-centric law in the nation", Pritzker said during a press conference Saturday at the Black United Fund's office in Chicago.

The measure also would automatically expunge some marijuana convictions. They said the bill will be introduced to the majority-Democrat state legislature on May 6.

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot released a statement Monday endorsing Pritzker's plan as "an important step forward in creating a fair process for legalizing recreational marijuana".

"My biggest concern is that there will be supply issues", Linn said, "specifically with the very limited number of cultivation center and craft grow licenses that would be able to have an adequate amount of product available for market when the first legal sales start". Revenue generated from the state's marijuana industry would be reinvested into communities "devastated" by the country's discriminatory drug enforcement, thereby "righting some historic wrongs".

The proposal includes a $20 million low-interest loan program to defray the cost of starting a licensed cannabis business for "social equity applicants", including those who have lived in a "disproportionately impacted area" or have been arrested or convicted of expungement-eligible offenses.

A state legislator from the northwest suburbs on Monday implored Illinoisans to join him in throwing a wrench in the growing momentum to legalize marijuana in IL. "Illinois lawmakers must take a smart, commonsense approach, and not welcome in another addiction-for-profit industry into the state".

The bill establishes personal possession parameters for IL residents and non-residents, a process for the automatic engagement of criminal histories for minor violations of the Cannabis Control Act, taxation levels at the point of sale of cannabis products, along with establishing the loan program. Pritzker campaigned on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana and is counting on $170 million from licensing fees in his proposed state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. He's said future revenue from legal marijuana will help IL address some of its deep financial problems.

The governor's office detailed plans for routing revenue from legal cannabis: 35% would go into the state's general operating fund; 25% would go into a new Restoring Our Communities fund, distributed as grands to communities that have "suffered the most because of discriminatory drug policies"; 20% would be for mental health and substance abuse treatment; 10% for unpaid bills; eight percent for law enforcement training grants and two percent for public drug education.

IL would use 10% of revenue to pay a backlog of unpaid bills.

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