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Pritzker unveils cannabis legalization bill

Saturday, May 4, 2019

[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

Promoting Equity

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

Home Grow
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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:25 am:

    Solid all around stuff.

  2. - Collinsville Kevin - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:28 am:

    Homegrow provision treats citizens like they are little children. Can’t we do better than that?

  3. - XonXoff - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:28 am:

    Special thanks to Rich Miller and Capitol Fax for gathering the full audio, the summary and the Bill text all linked up in one nice overview package – and on a Saturday.

    Thanks to Sen. Steans, Rep. Cassidy, Gov. Pritzker and their teams for all the hard work and diplomatic efforts thus far.

    I’m happy to see a modest homegrow provision will remain in the bill as introduced, as well as some additional distinctions around that.

  4. - Downstate Illinois - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:32 am:

    Lawmakers should think twice about giving state incentives to ex-cons over law abiding citizens. The attack ads will write themselves.

  5. - Glengarry - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    The home grow option isn’t as much as I would like, but we can’t always get what we want. Solid overall bill though.

  6. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    Other states have succeeded in legalizing cannabis, changing the law enforcement culture and bringing in huge tax revenues. It would be great if Illinois joined them.

  7. - Illinois Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    Downstate Illinois - Would if those “ex cons” were non violent and went to jail over cannabis when it should never have been illegal in the first place?
    You don’t think folks like this should be first in line to benefit when they were damaged by this policy?

  8. - Illinois Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:41 am:

    Happy that home grow is still part of the bill. Hopefully they stick with it in negotiations. I agree that they treat homeowners like kids based upon the rules, but better then not having the option at all.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 9:56 am:

    “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”

    I agree this is silly, but solid bill overall, with the help to communities that have been harmed the most by the failed war on marijuana.

    As far as the strength tax (over 35% THC), 35% THC or slightly less is plenty strong, so it should do for a lot of consumers.

    Great to see such a strong rollout of this legislation. It’s historic.

  10. - wordslinger - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    –Lawmakers should think twice about giving state incentives to ex-cons over law abiding citizens. The attack ads will write themselves.–

    Oh no, “attack ads?” Scary stuff.

    Perhaps you should research the polling on what “law-abiding citizens” think of making “cons” out of those who smoke weed.

  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    What wordslinger said.

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    –“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”–

    For crying out loud, there’s no such requirement for guns. How many suicides, accidental shootings and crimes of passion are there every year due to access to a weed plant in the home?

    If some folks choose to grow a few plants on their property outside in the sun, I hope the sheriffs and states attorneys who have loudly been trumpeting their discretion on gun laws will act consistently.

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    ===grow a few plants on their property outside in the sun===

    The problems with that include the potential for cross pollination with hemp and theft. It’s not unreasonable.

  14. - Illinois Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    Do we currently need to lock beer and alcohol up in a separate room away from other members of the household who are not 21?

    I guess we need to walk before we crawl and be glad we are finally seeing some change.

  15. - Illinois Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    -crawl before walk-

  16. - wordslinger - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    ===grow a few plants on their property outside in the sun===

    The problems with that include the potential for cross pollination with hemp and theft. It’s not unreasonable.–

    I don’t know from the botany on the threat from home-grown cross-pollination, so I need to learn up on that.

  17. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    For some or many, legalization has been decades in the making, so it’s been going super-slow. Good for the legislators to take their time on a bill, but what rationale is there now to keep going slow, perhaps other than a way to cover for a no vote?

  18. - Birdseed - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    The way I’m reading it, you have to register to grow the 5 plants in your home? If so, that sucks.

  19. - Rabid - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    The threat of cross pollination goes both ways

  20. - CT Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    ‘over 35% THC…’ whoa I was not aware this was a thing yet.

    The limitations on home-grow seems a bit heavy handed.

  21. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    I hope “separately locked room” also means enclosed grow tents. They sell home grow tents and kits, with ducts, lights, fans, etc.

  22. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    The beauty of legalization, is not only will the state be flush with new revenue, but the long term effect should result in lower local property tax bills. Less marijuana arrests will equal less law enforcement/judicial/incarceration costs. Win-win.

  23. - foster brooks - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    how does home grown create tax revenue? curious

  24. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    “how does home grown create tax revenue? curious”

    Through sales of equipment: grow lights, soils, hydroponics, tents, nutrients, fans, ducts, seeds, etc.

  25. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    - foster brooks - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    how does home grown create tax revenue? curious

    It saves the cost of wrongly incarcerating home growers.

    Justice does not have to be profitable…by the way…It’s simply the right way.

  26. - Hey oh. - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    Foster brooks. You pay taxes on everything you purchase or need for home grow. Water, lighting, soil, nutrients, seeds, humidifiers, tents. The list goes on and on.

  27. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    This proposed law is about justice and freedom…as evidenced by the recognition of our public right to grow a legal product.

    Recognizing and codifying our right to home grow into law cures any accusation of a corporate monopoly.

  28. - Anon - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===how does home grown create tax revenue? ===

    There are also going to be some market impacts. Without home growing you may see some monopolistic tendencies out of the licensed growers and dispensers that would potentially keep the price for their pot artificially high which could encourage illegal dealing which would also prevent tax revenue from being captured.

    This creates a legal alternative that would place pressure on the retailers.

    My big question is the legality for having different amounts for possession based off of residency. That seems like a pretty significant violation of the 14th Amendment.

    “You’re not from here, so it’s a crime for you to carry 20 grams of pot — but not for that guy over there.”

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===The way I’m reading it, you have to register to grow===

    It’s in the draft but won’t be in the bill. It was a drafting error. Language leftover from a previous version.

  30. - Birdseed - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    === - Rich Miller - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===The way I’m reading it, you have to register to grow===

    It’s in the draft but won’t be in the bill. It was a drafting error. Language leftover from a previous version. ===

    Good deal. Thanks for checking.

  31. - Danimal - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    My guess is the home grow provision is nothing more than a sacrificial lamb setup to satiate law enforcement lobbyists. Neither “side” wants home grow in the finalized bill, the only people that want it are citizens.

  32. - Illinois Resident - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Danimal - My concern as well. We will know soon enough. I do think Kelly Cassidy if very genuine in wanting it but she obviously needs others to support it.

  33. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    Unfortunately, I don’t possess a magic wand…but…if I did I would wave it over the Cannabis Consuming Public thereby causing every one who consumes cannabis to come forward (today) and reveal their identity.

    Who would we see?

  34. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    IDOR will have a revenue estimate in a few days. I wonder if it will indicate lost revenue to law enforcement.

  35. - OneMan - Monday, May 6, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    One downside of the homegrow stuff is some homegrow lights have components that are absolutely terrible when it comes to RFI (radio frequency interference). Like 1000x worse than the FCC allows. If this becomes widespread it may cause some issue and the FCC basically doesn’t do much enforcement or investigation anymore unless it involves public safety, broadcast or aviation interference.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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