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Illinois Approves Recreational Marijuana

Illinois Approves Recreational Marijuana

Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana. Behind California, Illinois is now the second-most-populous state to allow recreational cannabis. While other states like New York and New Jersey continue to struggle with passing similar legislation, Illinois passed the new law with key “social justice” initiatives incorporated into the measure. 

Money raised by taxes on recreation marijuana in Illinois will be dedicated to expunging nearly 800,000 minor cannabis-related cases. Expunging criminal records has long been a goal of advocates for marijuana-legalization, who argue that the War on Drugs has disproportionately targeted minorities. While other states have added similar provisions after the fact, the Illinois law is the first to include such a sweeping provision from the beginning. Any remaining tax money is slated to be used to support drug treatment and enforcement programs and to improve mental health counseling access in Illinois.

In the coming year, legalizing marijuana is expected to add hundreds of new jobs and generate $57 million in tax revenue for Illinois.

Illinois Recreational Marijuana License

Cannabis licenses in Illinois is proposed to become available for new cultivation facilities, craft growers, processors, stores, and transporters in 2 groups. First, in mid-2020, the state is slated to award licenses for up to 75 stores, 40 processors, and 40 craft growers. Next, in December of 2021, the state could issue additional licenses for 110 new stores, 60 craft growers, and 60 processors.

While a large number of licenses will be issued, the cannabis industry is very competitive. Only the most serious, experienced and well-prepared applicants are likely to secure their desired license. To have the best chance of obtaining a license, it’s important to begin the process as soon as possible and consult with experienced legal counsel to understand your next steps.

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