After many years of research and discussion, it appears Illinois may be poised to enact a strong, smart and well-regulated policy on the recreational use of cannabis. And, if a new law is passed this May, a multi-billion-dollar industry could help grow jobs in our state.
Two progressive Democrats have been leading the way on legalizing the adult-use of cannabis in Illinois. State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy have spent years wrapping their minds around what makes responsible policy for an effort that could bring in between $450-$650 million in annual revenue for the state. Through in-depth research into best practices and lessons learned in other states to dozens of town hall community discussions, the lawmakers have introduced legislation to move ahead.
In the Senate, Steans is pushing Senate Bill 7 and, if passed this month, it would go to the Illinois House for political give and take before Governor JB Pritzker can consider it.
Under SB7, adult-use recreational cannabis would become legal on the first day of 2020. Only residents who are 21 would be allowed to purchase, possess and use the regulated plant.
The most exciting part of a recreational use plan is the potential for new business opportunities for Illinoisans. Illinois would join other states that have legalized cannabis and experienced new businesses, including: Cultivation Centers, small business Craft Growers, Processors, Transport enterprises and Retail Dispensing companies.
The effort towards recreational use isn’t a deal that is done yet. Steans and Cassidy continue to negotiate on details to ensure public safety and strong regulation.