SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker yesterday signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, legalizing recreational cannabis and making his state the eleventh to decriminalize adult use.
“As the first state in the nation to fully legalize adult-use cannabis through the legislative process, Illinois exemplifies the best of democracy: a bipartisan and deep commitment to better the lives of all of our people,” Pritzker said in a press release.
“Legalizing adult-use brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do,” Pritzker continued. “This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon, and individual court action. I’m so proud that our state is leading with equity and justice in its approach to cannabis legalization and its regulatory framework. Because of the work of the people here today and so many more all across our state, Illinois is moving forward with empathy and hope.”
Illinois’ legalization scheme also includes progressive programs, which will give priority to licensing for minority-owned businesses and expunge criminal records for those with offenses involving less than 30 grams of marijuana. Through the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Grant Program, 25 percent of tax revenue generated by sales has been earmarked for improving impoverished communities.
“Illinois’ plans to legalize recreational cannabis in the new year are yet another indication of the positive steps we’ve collectively taken toward ending the prohibition of cannabis,” point-of-sale systems company Flowhub Chief Executive Officer Kyle Sherman said.
“As we’ve already seen with Colorado, which recently hit $1 billion in state tax revenue, cannabis legalization has a positive impact on the state’s economy,” Sherman said. “Illinois has the potential to surpass Colorado’s market size and we’re excited to see both state’s thrive and are committed to doing our part to help cannabis retailers build successful businesses in the era of legalization.”
The new legislation will take effect January 1, 2020. Excise tax on marijuana products varies between 10 to 25 percent, depending on THC content or product type. Taxes will not be imposed on medical marijuana, under Illinois’ compassionate use act.
“With every new state that legalizes recreational cannabis, we’re one step closer to creating a world with ease of access for consumers to take advantage of cannabis both for medicinal and recreational adult use,” Flowhub’s Sherman added.