Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected Tuesday to approve a plan to legalize marijuana in Illinois next year, marking a momentous shift in how the state treats drug use.
The governor is set to sign into law a bill allowing the licensed growth, sales, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and over, according to state Sen. Heather Steans, a co-sponsor of the bill. While the plant remains illegal under federal law, and the state previously decriminalized possession of small amounts, the new statute would end part of the war on drugs that led to thousands of arrests and convictions.
Steans, a Chicago Democrat, said the signing ceremony is set to take place at the Sankofa Cultural Arts & Business Center in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. While advocating for the bill for the past two years, she argued that prohibition doesn’t work, and that regulating the product will improve social fairness, make it safer to consume, and will generate much-needed tax revenue for the state.
In the runup to the first legal sales Jan. 1, 2020, Steans said, “The biggest challenge will be, what will the (customer) lines be like? In other states we’ve seen long lines and not enough product.” [Read more at Chicago Tribune]
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