Illinois House approves recreational marijuana, bill heads to Pritzker’s desk

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois is heading to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk after the House voted to pass it on Friday, after it was passed by the Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, HB1438, would allow anyone 21 and over  to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year. Residents could possess up to one ounce, or 30 grams, and non-residents could have 15 grams.

The House voted 66-47 Friday to pass the bill to the Democratic governor’s desk, who said he will sign it into law. Pritzker has supported marijuana legalization since his campaign for governor. 

Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s (D-Chicago) co-sponsored the bill. The measure also includes opportunities for past convictions for possession of 30 grams or less to be cleared. 

Pritzker released a statement following the bill’s passage:

“The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance. I applaud bipartisan members of the General Assembly for their vote on this legislation and I especially want to thank the sponsors Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy, as well as Senator Hutchinson, Senator Aquino, Leader Gordon-Booth, Representative Villanueva, the Black and Latino Caucuses, and Senator Barickman and Representative Welter for their tremendous work to make legalization a reality. In the interest of equity and criminal justice reform, I look forward to signing this monumental legislation.”More breaking news: The Illinois House will be in session through Sunday, June 2nd. We have overtime.

Locally, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) voted in favor of the bill. Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria), Rep. Mike Unes (R-Peoria), Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and Rep. Keith Sommer (R-Morton) voted against it. 

The Illinois Senate voted to advance HB1438 38-17. The bill will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. 

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