High Five: Top 5 Things to Know About Legal Weed in Illinois - NBC Chicago
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High Five: Top 5 Things to Know About Legal Weed in Illinois

Before you light up your joints, there are some things you should know about Illinois' plan to legalize recreational pot use in the state



    5 Things to Know About Legalizing Weed in Illinois

    Before you light up your joints Illinois, there are some things you should know.

    (Published Friday, May 31, 2019)

    Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois after a plan passed both the state House and the Senate this week. 

    But before you light up your joints, here are five things you should know: 

    What still needs to happen? 

    The bill still needs the governor's signature, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already said he will sign the bill. It's just a matter of when.

    Illinois Legislators Continue to Debate Pot Proposal

    [CHI] Illinois Legislators Continue to Debate Pot Proposal

    Lawmakers are continuing to hammer out details as the state looks to legalize recreational marijuana. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the details. 


    (Published Thursday, May 30, 2019)

    “The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation," the governor said in a statement. "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... In the interest of equity and criminal justice reform, I look forward to signing this monumental legislation.”

    When will it take effect?

    The legislation is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

    Illinois Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

    Illinois Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

    A long-awaited plan to legalize recreational marijuana use in Illinois has passed the Senate. NBC 5’s Christian Farr has the latest.

    (Published Thursday, May 30, 2019)

    What does the plan include? 

    Once signed into law, the plan will allow Illinois residents 21 and older to legally buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries and possess any combination of: up to 30 grams (roughly one ounce) of cannabis, as much as 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product, and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate.

    One contentious portion of the bill that evolved through a little "give and toke" was how it addresses the growth of cannabis plants in the home. The measure's Democratic sponsor Sen. Heather Steans had originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their home, but the amended version ultimately would permit only patients qualified for medicinal use of cannabis to grow their own plants, in a locked space away from public view.

    The proposal also addresses the criminal justice element of marijuana legalization by allowing anyone convicted in the past of marijuana possession of 30 grams or less to have their record expunged through the governor's clemency process, which does not require individuals to initiate the process.

    The bill would also allow those with a conviction of possession of between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana, or the state's attorney, to petition the court to vacate convictions on an individual basis. 

    How many other states have legalized recreational marijuana? 

    Illinois will be the 11th state in the U.S. to allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Illinois will also be only the second state after Vermont to legalize recreational marijuana without direct referendum approval from voters.

    Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2012, with eight others following in the years after.

    Some Illinoisans have weighed in on the issue in the past, however. In the March 2018 primary election, 68% of voters in Cook County voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. That following November, 88% of Chicago voters approved of using marijuana revenue to increase funding for Chicago Public Schools and mental health services.

    Where will the revenue from pot sales go? 

    The proposal allocates the revenue first to pay for administrative needs and costs incurred from the expungement process, then 35% to the state's General Revenue Fund, 25% to a program to invest in minority communities impacted most negatively by cannabis prohibition, 20% to substance abuse prevention programs and mengal health services and 10% to the bill backlog, among other initiatives.

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