Holy Smokes

Illinois legalizes the recreational use of marijuana

Illinois has become the eleventh state to legalize marijuana, and more states could follow this lead of action in the months of 2020, with a number of states adding recreational use of Cannabis to the ballots, according to cbsnews.com.

“I think Illinois legalizing marijuana will make other states in America, especially in the Midwest, want to follow the same suit,” junior Gabie Chajon said.

Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, has signed the new law, making it a first of its kind by passing by the state legislature and signing by the state governor. Illinois, which has about 12 million residents, is the second state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana, following Michigan in 2018, according to chicagotribune.com.

“This is a major milestone for the movement to end marijuana prohibition in the United States,” said American marijuana activist Mason Tvert, according to usatoday.com. “It is the clearest sign yet that lawmakers are catching up with the people on this issue. A strong and steadily growing majority of Americans support legalization, and observers have wondered when it would start translating into major victories in state legislatures. Illinois just answered that question.”

The new law allows Illinois residents, who are at least 21 years of age, to possess a maximum number of 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC, in products such as edibles, according to reinhartlaw.com.

“Legalizing adult-use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do,” Pritzker said, according to npr.org. “This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon and individual court action.”

The law will also remove the criminal records of over 800,000 people with marijuana-related felonies, such as possessing or purchasing 30 grams of marijuana or less, according to dailyherald.com. The state’s new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which takes effect in 2020, allows people to automatically receive clemency for convictions up to 30 grams of cannabis. Those convicted with larger amounts, from 30-500 grams can petition a court to have the charge lifted, according to cnn.com.

The bill will also include a “social equity program”, allowing those with past marijuana convictions to get business licenses. The act will also pass along $12 million for cannabis-related startup businesses, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Individuals who are low income, have past cannabis arrests and or convictions and those that live in disproportionately impacted areas may qualify to participate in the city’s social equity program. This Program aims to support people impacted by the War on Drugs and seeks to reduce barriers to entering the legal cannabis industry by providing a number of programs to support business ownership and employment opportunities, according to canibal.lacity.comm.

Illinois is the second most populated state to have passed the recreational use of marijuana law, behind California. While there are plenty more states awaiting ballot votes for legalizing marijuana, there are many different views on whether or not recreational use of cannabis should be legal in all 50 states of America.

“I do not see why marijuana should not be legal in Missouri,” sophomore Timothy Tresch said. “There is a legal age to purchase it and many rules regarding how much you can intake, so I do not see why all states won’t follow this suit.”

We want to hear your thoughts. Let us know your viewpoint in the poll below on whether or not more states should follow the same suit as Illinois and legalize recreational marijuana.