The new legislation would put the state in charge of regulating and licensing businesses to grow, distribute and sell marijuana. The new bills make it legal to have up to 28 grams of recreational marijuana and allows for regulated sales.
This would be at a tax rate of 50-dollars per ounce at the wholesale level. The Marijuana Policy Project estimates that the revenues derived from the legal cannabis industry could generate between $349 million and $699 million annually for the state. He claimed "Prohibition has been an absolute, dismal failure in terms of trying to reduce or address marijuana use among our youth" as any high school student in the state "will tell you that marijuana is widely available, much more readily available" than regulated substances like alcohol or tobacco. Heather Steans, filed the bill on Wednesday in Springfield.
"This is a source of revenue that should not be overlooked as we look for ways to fill that gap".
In a release, Representative Cassidy states, "Marijuana prohibition is a quagmire that creates far more problems than it prevents", and that "Several states have adopted sensible alternatives to prohibition, and it is time for IL to develop its own exit strategy".
As it stands, eight states have legalized the leaf for recreational use. But in IL, it's very hard to get a binding vote on the statewide ballot, so it would likely take legislative action to change the law. Both bills, which have been given committee assignments, specify marijuana possession would be allowed only for those 21 and older.
"I can agree with (Rep. Cassidy) that the state is in need of revenue". Purchases would have a sales tax of six-and-a-quarter percent.
An Illinois law creating a medical cannabis pilot program went into effect in 2013.
She says it would also generate revenue for education and other purposes. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police has said it does not support the concept of legalization, as they believe it to be a threat to public health and safety.
A medical marijuana dispensary owner says the bill will help him boost sales and won't interfere with current patients.