State lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would end marijuana prohibition in IL and establish a system in which marijuana was regulated and taxed for use by adults.
New bills introduced by two Chicago Democrats would legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and usage in IL.
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Individuals cultivating marijuana at home would be allowed to possess up to five marijuana plants per adult for personal use under the measure. According to estimates from the Marijuana Policy Project, Illinois could expect as much as $699 million a year in new revenue by legalizing and regulating weed.
"Marijuana prohibition has lasted 80 years", Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney of New Haven.
Two Illinois lawmakers have introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana in limited amounts, and allow its sale in licensed businesses.
Cassidy said marijuana prohibition creates far more problems than it prevents. Instead, they want to get the issue on the table in an effort to draft a version that is guaranteed to pass in 2018, reports the Chicago Tribune. Steans also said the taxes collected from legal marijuana sales would help plug holes in the state budget.
"Right now, all the money being spent on marijuana is going into the pockets of criminals and cartels", Steans said.
Cassidy was the chief sponsor of a 2015 house bill that would have made possession of up to 15 grams of pot - about half an ounce - a ticketable offense.
"Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer", she said.
Legalizing marijuana is on the table Wednesday at the capital.
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.