A bill to legalize adult-use marijuana, introduced by Illinois Senator Heather Steans in the legislature on May 7, is currently undergoing debate and revisions. Though none of the Hyde Park politicians have spoken particularly about the bill, Representative Kambium Buckner, Senator Robert Peters, Representative Curtis Tarver, 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, and 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette Taylor have expressed their support for the same.
Furthermore, a separate bill, being sponsored by Buckner and Tarver, hopes to develop a set of guidelines and remedies that would make sure that minority-owned businesses do not face any barriers that hinder their participation in the business of legalized cannabis.
Here are a few facts about the bill which the lawmakers hope to bring into force by January 1, 2020:
1) The bill proposes that Illinois residents over the age of 21 would be able to buy up to 30 grams of marijuana at once from licensed dispensaries, while non-residents would be able to purchase up to 15 grams.
2) It would also reportedly expunge over 800,000 low-level drug offenses, across misdemeanors to Class 4 felonies.
3) Furthermore, the bill aims at promoting social equality by encouraging small growers and prohibiting the establishment of big commercial players. For the same, a $20 million low-interest loan program would be adopted.
4) 35% of the tax revenue generated from the sales of adult-use weed will go into the state’s general operating fund, while 10% of the revenue will go towards paying back state debts, says a report published in ChicagoMaroon.
The remaining tax revenue would be reinvested in improving existing resources for socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, such as public education, law enforcement grants, mental health and substance abuse treatment.
5) Additionally, 25% of the tax revenue will be sent into the ‘Restoring Our Communities fund’ that will be set up through this proposal to bestow grants to communities which have been disproportionately targeted by “discriminatory drug policies.”
6) The legalization of recreational marijuana at the state level will not change or affect the University of Chicago’s policy on the drug, as the University receives funds from the federal government and as you are already aware marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.
“We do not anticipate that changes at the state level will affect university policies. As an institution of education and research receiving federal funds, the university must operate in accordance with the federal laws,” University spokesperson Sabrina Miller was quoted as saying.
- Possession of 10-30 grams of marijuana on the first offense
- Possession of 10-30 grams of marijuana on the second offense
- Keeping more than 10 grams of marijuana with the intent to sell
- Cultivating more than 5 plants
Notably, in order to make recreational weed legal by January 1 of the approaching year, lawmakers are required to vote on the bill by May 31.