Illinois on Friday, May 31 became the 11th state in the United States to legalize cannabis or marijuana after the state legislature made history and passed a bill legally permitting the regulated distribution and usage of the substance. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign it in the state capital city of Springfield.
The bill will allow legal adults who are 21 years old or older to possess and use cannabis for recreational purposes, starting next year in 2020. Illinois residents will be allowed to have up to 1 ounce or 30 grams and nonresidents could have 15 grams or less than 1 ounce.
The bill would also create a legal pathway for people with past cannabis convictions to have those wiped out off the records and any individual convicted of selling up to 30 grams or 1 once of cannabis could gain state executive clemency through the governor.
Illinois now joins 10 other states nationwide that have made history legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. States include Vermont, California, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Nevada. States such as Nebraska, Arizona, Mississippi, and North Dakota have proposed ballot initiatives to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.
The bill — which permits marijuana possession and may clear the way for hundreds of thousands of criminal cases to be purged — was sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk Friday after the state House of Representatives approved it with a 66-47 vote, the first time a state legislature in the United States has taken such action.
Ten previous states approved recreational use of marijuana through ballot initiatives.