[Comments are now open on this post.]
* CBS 2…
Governor JB Pritzker and key lawmakers announced a bill Saturday that would allow adults over the age of 21 to legally purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries in Illinois on January 1, 2020.
According to the Governor’s Office, the measure will be introduced Monday as an amendment to Senate Bill 7.
“Years of work by stakeholders across Illinois means that today we are putting forward a framework for the General Assembly to move forward this session to legalize adult use cannabis, and we welcome additional feedback and insight during this debate,” Pritzker said.
The full press release is here. A detailed summary is here. The actual legislative language is here.
* A few press release quotes…
“This legislation puts social justice first by acknowledging the damages to overpoliced communities during prohibition,” said Senator Toi Hutchinson. “The expungement program is the most ambitious and comprehensive in the nation, creating a mechanism for erasing hundreds of thousands of offenses. It creates investment in the overpoliced communities through the ROC [Restoring Our Communities] program, and it creates a low-interest loan program as well as a social equity applicant status, so that communities of color can reap the benefits of legalization.” […]
“For decades, our cannabis laws have been unfairly applied against minorities, distorting the populations in our jails and prisons,” said Representative Celina Villanueva. “And as a practical matter, cannabis prohibition has been just as ineffective, inefficient and problematic as alcohol prohibition was. It is time to bring a measure of fairness to our laws, revenue to our state to fund important programs, and justice to our communities. This bill will help us get there.” […]
“The Illinois State Police will be a responsible partner in enforcing the law and ensuring any and all provisions of adult use legislation are strictly and efficiently complied with,” said the ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly. “We are committed to ensuring the safety of the residents of Illinois.”
* Press release meat…
Gov. Pritzker is committed to adopting the most equitable system in the country, and this measure proposes several first-in-the-nation ideas to achieve a more equitable outcome for diverse communities.
$20 Million Low Interest Loan Program
The bill establishes a $20 million low interest loan program through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for qualified applicants to help defray the start-up costs associated with entering the licensed cannabis industry. The loan program will be paid for with existing funds from the current medical cannabis program, along with fees from licenses for existing dispensaries and cultivators that are approved in the first round of applications.
Social Equity Applicants
The framework establishes licenses for “social equity applicants,” who will receive points during the application scoring process. Eligibility criteria for social equity applicants includes a number of factors, such as majority ownership by residents of disproportionately impacted communities, majority ownership by those who have arrests or convictions eligible for expungement and those who have a majority of employees who have been disproportionately impacted.
During the licensing process, “social equity applicants” will receive 25 points out of the 200 points. Bonus points will be awarded for several categories, including for Illinois-based applicants and applicants with a labor peace agreement.
Limitations on Ownership
In order to foster more diverse ownership, the framework proposes ownership restrictions to prevent the consolidation of ownership in a small group and allow a more business owners to participate in this new market. Among the requirements: no person or entity can hold an interest in more than three cultivation centers or in more than 10 dispensing organizations.
Licenses will also be approved in waves, beginning with current medical cannabis license holders, followed by additional licenses being granted in 2020 and 2021. This timeline also ensures that new entrants into the market can develop successful applications.
Restoring Our Communities Grants
The proposal creates a new grant, Restoring Our Communities, which will receive 25 percent of the revenue that comes from the sale of adult use cannabis. A 22-member board would oversee grant distribution to communities across the state that have suffered the most from discriminatory drug policies.
The governor is committed to expunging criminal histories of minor violations of the Cannabis Control Act. The legislation establishes a process for automatic expungement that includes review from relevant law enforcement agencies, including State Police and States Attorney offices.
The automatic expungement process does not apply to individuals whose charges were accompanied by other charges. The attached summary includes a full description of the charges eligible for automatic expungement, along with the detailed process.
Once all vetting has occurred, the law requires that the conviction must be expunged.
Personal Use Parameters
Adults under 21 are prohibited from consuming cannabis, and cannabis cannot be consumed in any place where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Employers can discipline an employee or terminate employment if the employer’s employment policies or workplace drug policy is violated. Employers can adopt reasonable policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage or use of cannabis in the workplace.
Possession limit for Illinois residents:
* 30 grams of cannabis flower
* 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
* 500 milligrams of THS contained in a cannabis-infused product, or
* >30 grams of raw cannabis grown by an eligible resident
Possession limit for non-Illinois residents:
* 15 grams of cannabis flower
* 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate
* 250 milligrams of THS contained in a cannabis-infused product
The measure allows Illinois households to grow up to five cannabis plants if the grower is an adult 21 or older, is in a household that owns the residence, receives permission from the landlord, keeps the cannabis in a separately locked room to keep the cannabis away from members of the household who are under 21 and is not grown in public view.
Taxation and Costs
At the point of sale, products will be taxed at various rates, depending on the amount of THC. The cannabis purchaser excise tax is proposed at the following levels:
* 10% of the purchase price – cannabis with THC level at or below 35%
* 20% of the purchase price – all cannabis-infused products
* 25% of the purchase price – cannabis with THC level above 35%
Those who cultivate cannabis will be required to pay a 7% tax on their gross receipts from the sale of cannabis. This includes cultivators, craft growers and processors to a dispensing organization.
Preliminary estimates of the costs to administer the new law are roughly $20 million annually. Cost estimates will be finalized over the coming days.
Health and Safety
In order to raise awareness about the potential risks of using cannabis, the Department of Public Health will develop and disseminate educational materials for consumers and oversee the newly created Adult Use Cannabis Public Health Advisory Committee. The proposal also contains restrictions on advertising, packaging and label requirements, and warning requirements that must be posted in each dispensary.
In order to support substance abuse and mental health, 20% of the revenue generated by the sale of adult use cannabis will support efforts in those two areas.
Again, click here if you want to see a more detailed summary. The Illinois Department of Revenue will have a revenue estimate in the coming days.
* From that summary…
• Municipalities may pass ordinances prohibiting the establishments of dispensaries in their jurisdiction.
o Local units of government must adopt ‘opt out’ ordinances within one year of the effective date of the statute or they are limited to adopting ‘opt out’ provisions via local referendum.
* From the legislation…
A unit of local government, including a home rule unit or any non-home rule county within the unincorporated territory of the county, may not regulate the activities described in paragraph (1) [home-grow], (2) [time, place, manner, and number of cannabis establishment operations], or (3) [consumption] in a manner more restrictive than the regulation of those activities by the State under this Act.
…Adding… Raw audio from the press conference is here.