Legalization bill would allow possession, growing of cannabis

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Cannabis and hemp. (Image by chrisbeez from Pixabay)

Cannabis and hemp. (Image by chrisbeez from Pixabay)

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a proposed bill that would legalize up to 30 grams of cannabis and growing up to five plants at home.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Pritzker announced the bill at Black United Fund of Illinois on Saturday, calling it the “most equity-centric law in the nation.”

The newspaper reported that a central social justice provision would be the expungement of possibly 800,000 low-level drug convictions. Revenue would be invested in communities hit hardest by the “war on drugs.” Craft growers, not big commercial outfits, would be the focus with emphasis on helping people of color start in the industry. Individuals could grow up to five plants, if kept out of sight and with the landowner’s permission.

“We have to ensure it’s not a small group of people getting very rich,” said co-sponsor St. Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). “We want to make a lot of new business leaders in the state through this process.”

According to the Tribune, local governments could ban cannabis retail outlets during the first year the law is in effect. After that, it would have be done by referendum. 

Out of state residents could possess up to 15 grams of cannabis. 

A permit for cultivation would have a $100,000 fee with a 5% tax on total sales. Retail licenses would cost $30,000 and a 3% tax on sales or $100,000, which ever is less. Both would apply during the first year. However, the bill would also create a $20 million low-interest program to defray start up costs and waive up to 50% of fees if the applicants qualify as a “social equity applicant.”

You can read the full text of the proposal here.

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