CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois is one step closer to legal recreational marijuana, and lawmakers are moving quickly.
Revisions were made Wednesday morning, and that’s what legislators made moves on. The revisions no longer allow home-grown pot for everyone, just medical marijuana users. Medical marijuana patients may grow five plants. And it limits expungement for those with records involving marijuana. Those with convictions dealing with more than 30 grams, an individual will have to petition for expungement.
“We are the first state to attempt something this big and this comprehensive in one piece of legislation,” said State Sen. Toi Hutchinson.
Gov. JB Pritzker campaigned for the proposal, which moved through the senate committee and the senate floor with a 38-17 vote.
“I think it’s the biggest piece of social equity, social justice legislation that we’ve passed here in the State of Illinois,” said State Sen. Heather Steans.
The bill would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy and possess marijuana — 30 grams of cannabis flower or five grams of cannabis concentrate.
According to the bill, cannabis products may not be transported over state lines, and tax revenue will cover needs and costs related to expungement or the clearing of marijuana related records before it’s broken out. Additionally, local towns can decide individually how cannabis-related businesses may fit into their communities and employers may still maintain zero tolerance workplaces. Landlords and business owners can have zero tolerance policies as well.
Even with the changes, some are still against the proposal.
“More people are going to use, and that’s going to create more hazards for the public, not less,” said Dale Righter (R-Matoon). “Our kids are watching this. Maybe this is OK for us for now, and for a couple years we’ll get tax revenue. But its meaning 10 or 15 years down the road? And that’s my concern, and that’s why I oppose the bill.”
Attorney Larry Mishkin, who has specialized in medical marijuana since that became a reality in Illinois, explained that even though things moved quickly Wednesday, nothing will happen logistically overnight.
“Until the statue is passed, the administrative agencies don’t go to work,” he said.
The bill now moves to the house for a vote, which should come soon with just two days left to get it on Pritzker’s desk before the current legislative session ends Friday.