The Senate of Illinois passes the marijuana legalization bill in a move deemed one step closer to allowing the recreational use of the cannabis plant.
The road to Illinois marijuana legalization
The Senate voting was held on 29 May which effectively sent the bill back to the House for consideration two days before the conclusion of the session. Two Republicans joined 36 Democrats in supporting the Bill. The vote was 38-12.
The bill’s chief sponsor Senator Heather Steans believes that the legislation will set the model, a ‘gold standard’ he said in dealing with social equity issues related to legalizing the use of the cannabis plant.
The bill is significantly different from the original version introduced by Steans on May 3 as revisions were made few hours after the Senate voting. The original proposal ignited strong resistance from several local governments, business groups and law enforcement.
Ok. Here are some initial changes I've found:
As previously reported, this proposal has changed the stipulations for who can grow cannabis in their home. It is now limited to adult medical patients. Still can grow up to five plants in a secure location of their home.
— Jaclyn Driscoll (@DriscollNPR) May 29, 2019
The amended version of the Illinois marijuana legalization bill
The new bill or the amended version of House Bill 1438 states that beginning 01 January, residents of Illinois can have roughly an ounce or 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of THC concentrate and 5 grams of the psychoactive compound in a marijuana-infused product.
The 622-page bill also stipulates that the state can issue a limited number of licenses for retail dispensaries, processors and cultivators. The retail sale of marijuana items will also be charged with excise taxes.
One provision of the new bill that gained support and diffused some opposition is the allowing of expungement through the government’s clemency process for cases involving less than 30 g of marijuana.
And to round things out for the day… my home state’s Senate just approved a marijuana legalization bill in a 38-17 vote.
Just two days before the current Illinois legislative session ends. https://t.co/4ozsXouvLB
— Kyle Jaeger (@kylejaeger) May 29, 2019
This differs from the original proposal to enact blanket, mass expungement of previous criminal records for minor violations relating to cannabis.
Another significant provision of the new bill pertains to enabling individuals under certain conditions to grow up to five marijuana plants in their residences. The amended version limits it only to qualified people to use the plant for medical purposes, whereas the original version extended the right to all adults.
If signed into law, the Illinois marijuana legalization bill is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.