May 6, 2019 - 16:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Illinois could legalize recreational marijuana by January 1, 2020, thanks to a new bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted as central to criminal justice reform, Huffington Post reports.
The proposed legislation announced by Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers would allow people 21 and over to purchase recreational marijuana at a licensed dispensary in Illinois, which currently has a statewide prohibition on the drug with an exception for medical use. Residents would be able to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and grow up to five plants at home, and nonresidents would be able to possess up to 15 grams.
Most notably, details of the plan include expunging what lawmakers estimate will be about 800,000 marijuana convictions and allow people with such convictions to work in the cannabis industry. The proposal also mentions a $20 million low-interest loan program for minority-owned businesses, promoting what the proposal calls “social equity” in a predominantly white industry.
“We are taking a major step forward to legalize adult use cannabis and to celebrate the fact that Illinois is going to have the most equity-centric law in the nation,” Pritzker said during a press conference Saturday at the Black United Fund’s office in Chicago. “For the many individuals and families whose lives have been changed ― indeed hurt ― because the nation’s war on drugs discriminated against people of color, this day belongs to you too.”