Illinois Makes History After General Assembly Approves Marijuana Legalization

Illinois is set to be the first state in the U.S. to legalize commercial recreational marijuana through its legislature after lawmakers on Friday voted in favor of a legalization bill. The vote — which was 66 in favor and 47 against — follows multiple other legalization bids that failed to pass in states like New Jersey and New York.

The Illinois bill, which has been sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature, will make Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana.

“We spent two and a half years working on this, working through some pretty intense stakeholder meetings,” state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago and the bill’s lead sponsor, told Cheddar in an interview Tuesday.

The law — known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act — declares that cannabis will be “regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.” Adults 21 years old and older will be able to legally purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and cannabis-infused products with up to 500 milligrams of THC.

The legislation also creates a framework for the expungement of non-violent, cannabis charges. Those charged with under 30 grams of marijuana will automatically have their cases reviewed through the governor’s clemency program; individuals charged with 30 – 500 grams can submit petitions for the court to clear their records.

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