Illinois governor JB Pritzker announced proposed legislation today that would legalize recreational marijuana and expunge low-level possession convictions retroactively:
The governor and lawmakers touted a central social justice provision of their proposal: Expunging what they estimate would be 800,000 low-level drug convictions. Revenue from Illinois’ marijuana industry would be reinvested in communities that lawmakers said have been “devastated” by the nation’s war on drugs.
Under the proposed rules, no new large-scale commercial growers would be permitted to set up shop here, at least for now. Instead, the focus would be on small “craft” growers, with an emphasis on helping people of color become entrepreneurs in the weed industry. In addition, adults would be allowed to grow up to five plants per household, in a locked room out of public view, with the permission of the landowner.
Municipalities could ban retail stores within their boundaries within the first year of the program. After that, any ban would have to come through a voter referendum.
According to a summary from Pritzker’s office, permit fees would be $100,000 for growers and $30,000 for retailers, with lower fees for applicants from minority areas disproportionately affected by convictions in the war on drugs. There would also be a business development fee of 5 percent of total sales or $500,000, whichever is less, for cultivators, and up to $200,000 for dispensaries, with lower fees for “social equity applicants.”
The state’s current medical marijuana program would remain the same, lawmakers said, and dispensaries would be required to make sure enough supply is set aside for medical use.
A couple of barely-known groups oppose the bill, but the governor expects swift passage through the legislature and a quick signature.
I'm in favor, even though I don't smoke.