05292019CM1071 rSPRINGFIELD – After two years of work, hundreds of meetings with stakeholders and over a dozen public hearings, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation today that would make it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and use cannabis.

The legislation includes some of the most comprehensive restorative justice measures of any state that has legalized cannabis, seeking to combat the disproportionate harm prohibition caused to minority communities.

“Prohibition is not working. It’s time to come up with a better policy,” Steans said. “This plan keeps our children safe by prioritizing public safety, includes extensive restorative justice measures and brings in much-needed revenue for our state.”

Under Steans’ proposal, adults 21 and older would be able to possess any combination of the following beginning Jan. 1, 2020:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product

The measure allows for the automatic expungement of convictions dealing with amounts of cannabis under 30 grams. For convictions dealing with amounts of 30-500 grams, state’s attorneys or individuals can petition a court to vacate the conviction.

It invests significantly in communities harmed by discriminatory drug law, creating the Recover, Reinvest and Renew Program (R3) program to provide grants and assistance to those areas.

After agency administrative needs and costs related to expungement are covered, the remaining revenue from taxes and licensing fees will be distributed as follows:

  • 2% for public education and safety campaigns
  • 8% for law enforcement funds for prevention and training to be distributed through the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) formula
  • 25% for Recover, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program
  • 20% for programs that address preventative substance abuse programs and mental health services
  • 10% for the bill backlog
  • 35% or the remaining amount for the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF)

House Bill 1438 passed the Senate today and will head to the House for a concurrence vote.

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers sponsoring legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois released part two of a market study today, this time focusing on policy recommendations and best practices for a prospective legal market.

The study, commissioned by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), makes recommendations about a prospective legal cannabis system in Illinois, suggests policy alternatives, advises on practices to be avoided and highlights regulatory goals.

It also highlighted the need for Illinois to articulate clearly what should be expected upon legalization and provide the groundwork for the governing body that will oversee the industry.

“It is important that we work together to establish a functional adult-use cannabis market,” said State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the legislation’s House sponsor. “We’re crafting a governing body, establishing a timeline that works for everyone, and encouraging inter-agency cooperation to ensure that everyone is at the table.”

The study points out that the goal of any legal system should be to provide safe, regulated, consistent cannabis to consumers, while making restorative justice principles a priority, displacing illegal markets, decreasing problems related to substance abuse and maintaining public safety.

“It is important that the policy changes we enact reflect the needs of the people who have been unfairly incarcerated over the years,” said State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights). “If we are going to move in a positive direction, it is absolutely vital that we learn from our past and do our best to try and remedy the lingering effects our antiquated and harmful policies have had on neighborhoods and communities across the state.”

The study, performed by the consulting firm Freedman & Koski, noted that public policy requirements in laws and regulations can have an impact on attaining the right number and type of licensees capable of producing an adequate amount of cannabis in a cost effective, safe, and timely manner.

“One of our primary goals with creating a legal adult-use cannabis market is to begin righting the wrongs caused by prohibition,” Steans said. “Prohibition does not work. By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we hope to bring existing sales out of the illicit market, providing people with a safe, regulated product.”

The first part of the study, which was released earlier this month, showed that the demand from Illinois consumers would exceed what the state’s existing licensed growers could supply.

The first part of the study can be viewed here: Illinois_WP_DemSnap_022419.pdf.

The second part can be viewed here: 20190311_Illinois_WP_part2_Final.pdf

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