Inside Illinois’ New Marijuana Legalization Bill
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Inside Illinois’ New Marijuana Legalization Bill
Posted by CN Staff on June 25, 2019 at 17:28:25 PT
By Thor Benson 	
Source: Rolling Stone
Illinois -- When Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act into law on Tuesday, Illinois became the first state to legalize a comprehensive adult-use marijuana market through its legislature, setting up what looks to be a booming industry in the state, while helping to assist communities of color that have been ravaged by the War on Drugs.Starting on January 1st, Illinois residents over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, and adult visitors will be allowed to possess up to 15 grams. Medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow up to five plants at home, though growing at home for social use will not be allowed. Cannabis flower that has under 35 percent THC will be taxed at 10 percent, products that contain over 35 percent THC (like vape oils and other concentrates) will be taxed at 25 percent, and cannabis-infused products will be taxed at 20 percent.
What’s most striking about this law is its projected impacts on minority communities. According to advocates, the racial justice provision in the bill will lead to the expungement of up to nearly 800,000 cannabis convictions, which have disproportionately affected people of color. In order to promote diversity in the largely white industry, the law creates a social equity program that will provide grants and loans to minority cannabis business owners. A quarter of the tax revenue will also go directly to aiding minority communities impacted by the War on Drugs through what’s being called the Restore, Reinvest and Renew program.Heather Steans, an Illinois state senator who crafted the bill, says she’s very proud of the racial justice and racial equity aspects of it.“We estimate that there are 770,000 records that are eligible for expungement. That’s more than every other state that’s legalized adult use combined,” Steans says. “We are also doing a lot to make sure we get diversity in the industry.”Steans says that at least 20 percent of new licenses for social use sales will go to people of color, and there will be $30 million available to help minority business owners. Shanita Penny, president of the Oregon-based Minority Cannabis Business Association, says she’s optimistic these efforts will benefit many Illinois residents. “I am hopeful that this thoughtful legislation coupled with resources and support, like the Cannabis Business Development Fund and the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew Program, improves the representation of minorities as business owners in the industry and reinvesting in disadvantaged communities,” Penny says. “It certainly goes further than what we’ve seen in other states and could be, as they promised, a new standard for equitable legalization.”Penny says she’s happy with the fact so many criminal records are going to be expunged, but adds that there’s still more work to do. The law only allows expungement for those convicted of possessing up to 500 grams of cannabis, and she says those with convictions above that amount also deserve some reprieve.“We need to provide resources and support to ensure those convictions are vacated as well,” she says.Illinois decriminalized cannabis in 2016, but that doesn’t mean people stopped getting arrested over weed. A report from last year found that hundreds of people are still being arrested or ticketed per year in the city of Chicago, and 94% of those charged with petty marijuana possession between 2017 and 2018 were people of color. The expungement process should help undo some of the damage done by biased policing. Another issue that has come up with this law relates to the debate over allowing Illinois residents to grow cannabis at home. Steans said the original bill allowed all adults to grow cannabis at home, but she received “pushback” from other members of Congress and law enforcement, so they compromised and made it so only medical patients could grow up to five plants at home. Many find growing their own cannabis more cost-effective, which is one reason advocates wanted to make this part of the law. Dan Linn, the executive director of Illinois NORML, says law enforcement wasn’t the only group that pushed against this bill or aspects of it. He says the drug testing industry, abstinence-based anti-drug groups and some religious organizations fought the bill throughout the legislative process. “I think compromising on allowing adults to cultivate cannabis at home is something that upset a lot of our supporters, but it was part of the legislative process, and you have to compromise sometimes,” says Linn. He expects that the state will approve growing cannabis at home for all adults in the next few years. Only existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be getting licenses for the first year, so after the law goes into effect in January, those dispensaries will initially be the only locations to purchase recreational marijuana. He says that this might allow medical dispensaries to corner the market before other shops are able to open. Medical marijuana growers will also get the first chance to start growing cannabis for social use, as they will receive the first 150 licenses once they become available. The law allows for some vertical integration, which typically means when a company both produces and distributes its products, but there are limits. Linn says medical marijuana companies were previously allowed to own three growing facilities and five dispensaries, and this new law allows a company to own three grows and 10 dispensaries. There is also a limit of one craft grower per company, which are growers who create more artisanal products.The law does not create a statewide license for cannabis consumption lounges but does allow for municipalities to set them up if they choose to. Linn said he expects many municipalities will do so and that it will benefit those communities since both residents in legal states and cannabis tourists often struggle to find places to a legally consume cannabis.A highly populated state in the middle of the Midwest legalization is sure to impact the region. Linn says he’s already spoken to organizers from Wisconsin who are planning to push harder on legalization now that Illinois has made it happen, and it seems likely other nearby states will be watching what happens in Illinois closely as they make up their minds about legalization. Steans says she hopes other states adopt Illinois’ racial justice and racial equity provisions when they craft their legalization bills. Steans says Illinois has been an industry leader as a medical marijuana state, and she believes Illinois will be an even bigger player now that they’ve fully legalized. “I think Illinois is going to become a powerhouse in the cannabis industry,” Steans says.Source: Rolling Stone (US)Author:  Thor Benson Published: June 25, 2019Copyright: 2019 Straight Arrow Publishers Company, L.P.Contact: letters rollingstone.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #15 posted by FoM on July 06, 2019 at 05:04:12 PT
I hope you had a great 4th of July. Praying for California this morning. 7.1 is one big earthquake. If one like this hit LA not in a smaller populated area the death toll would be bad.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on July 04, 2019 at 06:29:20 PT
FoM #12&13
I sing We Are the People at the top of my voice in the car when it comes on the radio. And Sam Cooke one of the great musical prophets of our generation gave us the vision that we need to prosper as a society. "Proverbs 29: 18 KJV Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Happy Independence Day and God bless us every one. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 04, 2019 at 05:31:38 PT
Happy 4th of July Friends
Sam Cooke - A Change is Gonna Come:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on July 04, 2019 at 04:51:07 PT
God made the World and man made borders. We are the World: I was young I would be more then willing to take in some of these precious children. Where is the outrage? We are to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless etc. I hope we wake up before it's too late.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on July 03, 2019 at 22:14:33 PT
Cruelty at the Border
Oh, yeah. Yesterday I got a Tom Petty CD for $5 at Walmart. I was driving around playing "Refugee" thinking about how the migrants are being treated at the border and singing along "don't have to live like a refugee." Many people newly alive today haven't even heard the song... And they need to!
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 03, 2019 at 20:58:45 PT
You made me smile! I love it too. I have watched in a number of times.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by afterburner on July 03, 2019 at 16:10:30 PT
FoM #8
Thanks for that video. It's just what I needed this morning. I folded it into my day and heard the positive message coming out in my talk with co-workers today.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 02, 2019 at 06:08:37 PT
I have such a problem with narrow minded people. I get so tired of self righteous evangelicals and the abortion issue. Guns, Abortion but no problem with Trump's love for despots. Birds of a feather flock together they say. The cruelty at the border doesn't seem to bother Trump supporters. I hope that he is voted out and a caring person is voted in. I thought a President was to be as best as possible a role model particularly for young people. I worry about them thinking anything goes. I am so happy we have come this far in marijuana reform though. I love this!
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on July 02, 2019 at 05:47:37 PT
FoM #6 You May Have Heard this in the Debates
Donald Trump Jr. Questions Kamala Harris' Ethnicity 
BY TODD NEIKIRK	June 29, 2019"Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted then deleted a tweet questioning the ethnicity of presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. Ali Alexander is a Black American activist who is often retweeted by figures on the Alt-Right. He wrote on Friday, 'Kamala Harris is not an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican.'"Like Father, like son. Trump's "birther" attack on Obama remembered as Donald Trump, Jr. questions Democratic candidate Kamala Harris' ethnicity. According to the news, the tweet itself was misinformation. Kamala Harris stayed on point with her issues, like the Federal Legalization of Cannabis. And she got the support of other candidates.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 01, 2019 at 12:00:37 PT
Related News
Kamala Harris Praises Illinois for Legalizing MarijuanaURL: Harris: Thankful states like Illinois are stepping up to correct the mistakes of our past. It’s time to do the same at the federal level. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 30, 2019 at 18:20:12 PT
My Likes So Far
Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders ( age issue unfortunately)  and Cory Booker. I would be happy with any of them. That is not an order of preference just who I like.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 30, 2019 at 18:16:24 PT
I agree with you. Biden is too old and he is showing it and because of so many years there is too much baggage. I always thought Reagan was too old and he was particularly too old during his second term. 
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on June 30, 2019 at 08:23:49 PT
FoM & Hope
Blacks leaning towards Democrats. It makes sense. However, they seem to be favoring former VP Biden, who did more harm to the black community with his hard-edge prohibitionist actions. I hope they are not giving their support based mainly on electability and name recognition. His self-proclaimed support for civil rights is historically undermined by his record of harsh approach to drug policy. They may be disappointed with the results of a Joe Biden POTUS victory, even though it might be marginally better than another four years of POTUS Donald Trump. I hope that they get to know the rest of the Democratic candidates, so that they get better policies to truly help their community.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 30, 2019 at 06:03:09 PT
Good question. I remember years ago reading a policeman's statement when the drug laws were accelerating say this or close to it. We can't keep black people as slaves anymore but now we can bust them and put them in jail. I believe since minority groups mostly are leaning towards the Democratic Party Republicans know they will soon be out numbered and it will be harder for them to maintain power.
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on June 28, 2019 at 22:15:00 PT
"... 94% of those charged with petty marijuana possession between 2017 and 2018 were people of color."New Jersey got a lot of attention back in the day for their racial profiling concerning drugs and particularly cannabis. I wonder what Illinois' racial disparities looked like back then.
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