Senate Bill, or SB-316, would legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21-and-older.
The new legislation would put the state in charge of regulating and licensing businesses to grow, distribute and sell marijuana. Steans also said the taxes collected from legal marijuana sales would help plug holes in the state budget.
Using Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal, as a gauge, the Marijuana Policy Project projected IL could generate between $349 million and $699 per year on marijuana if prohibition were lifted and the drug were allowed to be sold and taxed.
Both measures must now be passed by their respective chambers before they can be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for consideration.
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"Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer", Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who is expected to sponsor the legislation in the House, wrote in a statement obtained by WAND-17 news in Decatur.
The co-sponsors, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, says there isn't a consensus on a framework for what might come out of the committee.
For more than a year, IL has had a pilot program allowing the sale of marijuana to patients with any of about 40 debilitating diseases, such as cancer or AIDS. Purchases would have a sales tax of six-and-a-quarter percent.
Under the proposed new law, marijuana would be restricted under the law in much the same as is alcohol under state law. According to theChicago Reader, the MPP is projecting "Illinois could produce between $350 million and $700 million in tax revenue for the state each year". But he said the medical marijuana law is limited, and a lot of municipalities had previously decriminalized cannabis, so the effects were muted. It would still be illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, and employers could still regulate its use in the workplace.