Today Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 1438 into law, officially making Illinois the latest state to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. The Illinois Senate approved the bill 38-17 on May 29 and on May 31, the Illinois House approved the bill as well.
“As the first state in the nation to fully legalize adult-use cannabis through the legislative process, Illinois exemplifies the best of democracy: a bipartisan and deep commitment to better the lives of all of our people,” Pritzker said in a statement during the signing. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do. This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon and individual court action.”
Legalizing cannabis was one of Pritzker’s key selling points during his campaign for governor of Illinois. Although it took longer than he initially planned, Pritzker was able to keep his promise to his voters.
The law allows adults 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis. Medical cannabis patients can grow at home, while recreational consumers cannot. The bill also includes expungement provisions—provisions which are being called one of the most progressive. People with convictions involving 30 grams of cannabis or less will have their criminal records referred to the state’s Prisoner Review Board, followed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker for a pardon, given that the convictions were not associated with a violent crime.
Illinois is making history once again. I’m signing the most equity-centric cannabis legalization in the nation, recognizing and addressing the past harms of discriminatory drug laws.
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) June 25, 2019
Cannabis will be taxed based on potency. Marijuana Moment reports that cannabis flower with up to 35 percent THC will be taxed at 10 percent, while cannabis with over 35 percent THC will be taxed at 25 percent. Legal cannabis sales begin on Jan. 1, 2020. Cannabis-infused products will be taxed at 20 percent, and all of those rates may include the state’s general sales tax and any applicable local taxes. Licenses for cannabis stores will be issued by May 1, and licenses for processors, craft growers and distributors will be issued by July 1.