Saturday, 24 June, 2017

Recreational marijuana use in IL?

Marijuana plant Marijuana plant
Tracy Craig | 24 March, 2017, 03:00

A pair of IL lawmakers are proposing to drop the legal prohibition of marijuana and taxing its legal sales.

Under Senate Bill 316, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago), and House Bill 2353, sponsored by State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), adults ages 21 and over would be allowed to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana.

The bills propose taxing marijuana at a rate of $50 per ounce wholesale, plus the state's standard 6.25 percent sales tax.

If passed, it would allow people from IL over the age of 21 to have up to one ounce of marijuana. Consumption in public would remain illegal, as would possession of more than 28 grams at a time (including no more than 5 grams of "concentrated cannabis") for residents, and 14 for non-residents.

Cassidy said marijuana prohibition creates far more problems than it prevents. Steans pointed to data showing OR collected more than $60 million in new tax revenue from the sale of marijuana, and Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, collected more than $140 million in 2016 from legal marijuana sales.

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Sen. Steans also wants to explore the issue of marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management.

Advocates have cited successes from Colorado's marijuana legalization, including the amount of revenue the proposal could generate for the state.

"It is clear that individuals across the nation are receptive to purchasing marijuana through a legal market", Steans said.

Legalizing marijuana could be just the moneymaker the state needs, the lawmakers say: Eight states have now enacted laws regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use, and the budget benefits have been apparent in some of those parts of the country. "Prohibition is a financial hole in the ground, and we should stop throwing taxpayer dollars into it".

The governor's office is reviewing the bills.

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