Illinois Lawmakers introduce bill to legalize Recreational Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 27, 2017.

Taking a major step towards legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois, two Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation in both General Assembly chambers to end marijuana prohibition and raise tax on marijuana use for adults.

Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353 would allow residents to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana, grow five plants and permit facilities to sell marijuana products for anyone age 21 or older. The measure would also establish safety regulations such as testing and labeling requirements and levy tax on marijuana use.

If the legislation is enacted, the state would impose a $50 per ounce tax at the wholesale level, while sales to the public would be subject to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. It could make between $349 million and $699 million annually based on usage rates and prices in Colorado, according to advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project.

Besides, recreational marijuana would be regulated the same as alcohol and buyers must show identification when purchasing marijuana. However, public smoking would remain illegal, and punishable by a fine of up to $100.

State Representative Kelly Casidy, who introduced the House Bill 2353, says regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make the communities safer.

"It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new revenue for our state. Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois' worsening budget problems”, Heather Steans, who introduced the Senate Bill 316, said in a statement.

In the U.S., marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but it has been legalized for recreational use in eight states and the District of Columbia.

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