There’s a new law in the Land of Lincoln! Yesterday, while ringing in a new decade, Illinois also saw the official start of legal cannabis sales for adults 21 and older.
Illinois residents can now purchase and possess up to 30 grams of raw cannabis, cannabis-infused products containing no more than 500 mg of THC, and five grams of cannabis product in concentrated form. Visitors to the state can purchase half those amounts. More than 40 dispensaries throughout Illinois have been approved to sell cannabis to adults.
MPP lobbied to improve cannabis policies in the Illinois Legislature for over 15 years and worked closely with legislators and the governor’s office to craft and pass this new law, which contains the most far-reaching social equity provisions ever included in a legalization law. It includes reinvestment in communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition, broad expungement provisions, and measures to ensure the industry includes communities that have been targeted by cannabis enforcement. On Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker granted over 11,000 pardons for low-level cannabis convictions, marking the first wave of expungements expected under the new law.
We’d like to give a big shout out to these four legislative champions who saw this effort to its fruition — Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth. Sen. Hutchinson was appointed by Gov. Pritzker to oversee the state program in September. Thanks to their years of dedication, this law will truly change lives, which is why MPP does this work.
With state legislatures soon convening for their 2020 legislative sessions, MPP is working hard to make further progress reforming our nation’s cannabis laws. Although 11 states have now legalized, a majority of Americans still live in a jurisdiction where possessing cannabis is against the law.
Please donate to MPP so that we can continue to enact and implement legalization policies at the state level. Illinois is a powerful reminder of what our movement can achieve when we have the resources needed to succeed.
Big news! Lawmakers in Springfield just approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has championed legalization.
With the governor's signature, Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to approve legal sales through the state legislature rather than a ballot measure. Legal marijuana sales are scheduled to begin on January 1, 2020.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) will legalize the possession and purchase of up to 30 grams of marijuana for adults and establish an inclusive, regulated market for cultivators, processors, retail stores, and testing labs.
Crafting a bill that could get past the finish line involved a long and difficult negotiation process. Although we weren't able to get everything we hoped to see (such as home cultivation and delivery for adults), the bill is an enormous step forward. It will help hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans and set a new standard for addressing the harms caused by decades of marijuana prohibition.
The CRTA includes far-reaching expungement provisions, funding for communities hard hit by the drug war, and assistance to business applicants operated by those harmed by prohibition or from areas of disproportionate impact. It also legalizes home cultivation for patients. Read a complete summary of the legislation here.
This victory is the result of a collective effort, and there are so many to thank for their support: MPP donors who made our years-long advocacy effort possible; legislative champions Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and Rep. Jehan Gordon; Gov. Pritzker; our dedicated lobbyists Pete Baroni and Kareem Kenyatta; Sen. Steans' cannabis policy staffer Rose Ashby; Clergy for a New Drug Policy; and all the individuals and organizations who worked to move the legislation forward.
We wouldn't be able to do this work without the support of those who contribute. Please consider making a donation todayto help us ensure Illinois' legalization law is implemented quickly and smoothly, and to help us roll back prohibition in other states.
After years of committee hearings, town halls, and stakeholder meetings, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy have crafted a thoughtful proposal to end cannabis prohibition in Illinois! SB 7 would set the gold standard for smart, equitable cannabis policy. It includes secure home cultivation, robust expungement, community reinvestment, and ensures the benefits of the new industry go to those who suffered from the war on cannabis.
Now, we need all hands on deck to get the bill past the finish line before the legislature adjourns on May 31.
Then, spread the news on social media to rally other thoughtful Illinoisans to action.
Legalizing and regulating marijuana is a priority of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But we know passage can’t be taken for granted. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Write your state legislators today, and spread the word.
Yesterday’s blue wave in Illinois poised to become a green wave next session
Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, who has been a vocal supporter of legalizing, taxing, and regulating cannabis for adults’ use, appears to have handily won yesterday’s gubernatorial election. While official election results are still pending, both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times reported a margin of victory of around 55% of the vote.
In the race for state attorney general, cannabis reform supporter Sen. Kwame Raoul also notched a win with around 54% of the vote. Both J.B. Pritzker and Kwame Raoul were rated A+ candidates by MPP leading up to the election for their strong positions in support of sensible marijuana policy.
And a hearty congratulations go out to friend-of-the-movement Bob Morgan, who won the 58th District seat in the Illinois House of Representatives! Morgan headed up the successful launch of the state’s medical cannabis program, and as a private attorney, Bob has continued to be engaged in cannabis reform. He is a welcome addition to the General Assembly.
Yesterday’s results come as Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy prepare to introduce a revised bill for the session starting in January that would legalize cannabis for adults in Illinois. This moment is a huge step toward the bill’s passage and an exciting moment for those who seek an end to cannabis prohibition in Illinois.
Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others
Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.
This historic change makes several key improvements:
• Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.
• Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.
• No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.
Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.
In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.
When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.
Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois
Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists
Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!