Illinois becomes 11th state to legalize marijuana

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Illinois just turned into the 11th state to legalize marijuana — and the first place where the legislature authorized promoting the drug.

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

Illinois’s marijuana legalization law will enable recreational possession and sales beginning on January 1, 2020, creating a brand new system of taxes and regulations. Adults 21 and older shall be allowed to possess and buy cannabis, though tourists in Illinois might be allowed to purchase less than state residents. Cities and counties may prohibit sales, however not possession, inside their borders. Private growing will only be fully legal for medical use. Earlier low-level convictions and arrests for marijuana shall be pardoned and expunged.

The regulation will be in effect from  January 1, 2020.

The state previously allowed marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana remains illegal at the general level, with federal regulation classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance with no medical worth and a high risk for misuse. But the federal government has typically taken a hands-off method towards state laws loosening access to the drug.

Ten different states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana. However, Vermont (which additionally legalized via its legislature) and DC haven’t yet allowed gross sales. In addition to Vermont and now Illinois, states have legalized via ballot initiatives.

Many other states, together with New York and New Jersey, have considered the legalization in their legislatures this year, but the proposals have so far didn’t go despite help from the governors in those states.