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Illinois Legalizes Marijuana

Jennifer Smith

Posted on June 26 2019

Illinois just became the 11th state to legalize marijuana — and the first where the legislature legalized selling the drug.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who advocated for legalization in his 2018 campaign, signed a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday. The legislature had sent the bill to him in May.

Illinois’s marijuana legalization law will allow recreational possession and sales starting on January 1, 2020, creating a new system of taxes and regulations. Adults 21 and older will be allowed to possess and buy cannabis, although tourists in Illinois will be allowed to buy less than state residents. Cities and counties may prohibit sales, but not possession, within their borders. Personal growing will only be fully legal for medical use. Previous low-level convictions and arrests for marijuana will be pardoned and expunged.

The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

The state previously allowed marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, with federal law classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance with no medical value and a high potential for misuse. But the federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach toward state laws loosening access to the drug.

Ten other states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana. But Vermont (which also legalized through its legislature) and DC have not yet allowed sales. Besides Vermont and now Illinois, states have legalized through ballot initiatives.

Story re-posted from Vox. Written by German Lopez