On June 25, 2019, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”), which, as of January 1, 2020, legalizes...

On June 25, 2019, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”), which, as of January 1, 2020, legalizes recreational use and possession of marijuana by adults aged 21 or older.  Illinois is now the eleventh US state to adopt a general law authorizing adult recreational use of marijuana (joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia).  And thirty-three states have enacted medical marijuana laws.  (We have posted about these and other marijuana-related developments impacting the workplace, for example, here, here, and here.)  What makes Illinois’ new law unique among these other states’ laws is its breadth.  For example, the CRTA addresses and attempts to create remedies for social inequities created through past enforcement of drug-related laws by authorizing the expungement of criminal convictions based on possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.  It also directs that certain taxes from marijuana sales go to the creation of social programs and business incentives supporting those most adversely affected by drug law enforcement activities. 

Generally, the CRTA allows adults to purchase and possess marijuana from a licensed dispensary in amounts of up to a maximum of 15 grams for out-of-state residents, and 30 grams for Illinois residents (or equivalent amounts of other forms of the drug such as oils or edibles).  Only qualified patients under Illinois’ medical marijuana law may grow marijuana for personal use.

The law maintains the prohibition on possession and use of marijuana in public places, in motor vehicles (unless stored in a container and inaccessible while driving), when knowingly close to someone who is under the age of 21, and on school grounds or school buses.

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