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First bill to legalize pot in Illinois filed

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SPRINGFIELD — The first bill to legalize cannabis in Illinois has been submitted to the Illinois General Assembly.

The Southern Illinoisan reported that Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) filed a bill that would actually go a bit further than other proposals.

From The Southern Illinoisan:

Ammons’ bill, the “Cannabis Legalization Equity Act,” would allow anyone 21 or older with valid identification to purchase or sell marijuana. Driving under the influence of the drug would still be illegal, and the legislation makes specific mention that only “legitimate, taxpaying business people” would be permitted to sell cannabis.

Illinoisans, under the measure, could possess as many as 224 grams, or roughly half a pound, of marijuana at a time. It would also allow individuals to grow as many as 24 plants in their own homes for personal consumption, and it would provide for the licensing of cultivation facilities and retail dispensaries.

The state chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is all for it. “We like it. We think that that’s more in line with how we treat alcohol,” Dan Linn, who lobbies for the Illinois chapter of NORML, told the newspaper. “We also think it would be good for consumers to be able to cultivate their own cannabis, as well as to have a cap on the licensing fees for the new businesses that would be created by that legislation.”

The bill has not been assigned to a committee as of Tuesday.

Other details of the bill include a fine of $200 to $400 for minors who try to buy pot illegally, increase cultivation licenses, authorize medical research and be subject to a 10% excise tax.

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