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Cannabis Legalization

Last March, State Senator Heather Steans and I introduced Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353  to legalize the sale of adult use cannabis in Illinois and create the necessary regulatory and taxation framework to do so. We are in the process of meeting with stakeholders and constituents to gather feedback on the legislation. We plan to introduce an updated version in the coming months. 

I have long believed that cannabis prohibition is bad public policy. Several years ago, I passed a decriminalization bill turning possession of small amounts of cannabis into a civil ticket rather than a criminal offense. The time has come to take the natural next step. For us, this is first and foremost an issue of social justice. The war on drugs has had a disproportionately negative effect on communities of color. We must face the scientific fact that cannabis is less harmful than a substance like alcohol, and treat it similarly

All Illinoisans, especially those in communities most harmed by our outdated biases, should have the opportunity to start and work in businesses representing an entirely new and booming sector of our economy. 

Senate Bill 316/House Bill 2353 SB 316 and HB 2353 would allow Illinois residents over the age of 21 to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis and to own 5 cannabis plants. Non-residents may possess up to 14 grams of cannabis. There are a number of public health and safety measures within the legislation, including:

  • All cannabis product would be tested for potency and contaminants;
  • Businesses would be required to label cannabis products with test results and product warnings;
  • Businesses would be subject to comprehensive security, background checks, packaging, advertising and location rules
  • Local communities may prohibit or restrict cannabis businesses within their areas; • Consuming cannabis in public and driving under the influence of cannabis would remain illegal;
  • Landlords may prohibit tenants from growing and smoking cannabis at their rental properties; 
  • Employers would not be required to accommodate employees under the influence of cannabis.

The legislation implements an excise tax on the sale or transfer of cannabis from a cultivation facility to a dispensary of $50 per ounce of flower, $15 per 25 grams of other cannabis parts and $25 per immature plant. It has been estimated that full legalization of adult use cannabis would generate between $350 million and $700 million in new revenue for the State of Illinois.

We are in the process of revising a final draft of the bill. For more updates, sign up for our newsletter and click the icon below to get involved with the Safer Illinois campaign.