Sales of recreational marijuana in Illinois will begin on January 1, 2020, but the regulations left a lot to be desired.
The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that will legalize cannabis once it is signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
The bill was passed by a bipartisan vote of 66-47, and the Governor already showed his support for the bill, leaving no room to wonder if there will be a last-minute veto.
Vermont was the first state to regulate their recreational cannabis industry through the legislative process, while all other states relied on the state ballot.
However, Vermont’s cannabis laws don’t allow commercial sales, while Illinois will allow commercial sales, as well as possession.
“This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance,” Pritzker said in a statement.
There’s room for improvement
According to the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, around 770,000 Illinois residents could qualify for expungement for low-level marijuana possession, but only if the offense was not done in combination with a violent crime.
All residents of Illinois over 21 years old will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, while non-residents will be able to hold onto 15 grams at a time.
This bill will impose some pretty high tax rates. Any product containing less than 35% of THC will be taxed at a rate of 10%, while anything with a higher amount of THC will be taxed at 25%, meaning that extracts will be more expensive than dried flowers.
Other provisions that left a lot of questions unanswered are the ones regarding testing for cannabis at work, where and how it can be consumed, etc.
Growing recreational cannabis will not be allowed at all. Only registered medical users will be allowed to grow the plants.
Smoking in public places, in cars, on boats, and anywhere close to public officials will result in having to pay a ticket. Smoking nearby people younger than 21 years will also get you fined, even if it’s in your own house.
Residential communities will have the opportunity to choose if they wish to allow the consumption of cannabis on-site, and residents will have to abide by the communal rules, even with the laws in effect.
Below is a map of all the existing legal medical dispensaries in the Chicago area, most of which will likely serve recreational customers once the law goes into action.