Illinois Lawmakers Propose Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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Separate pieces of legislation aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana use in IL were submitted to the state general assembly Wednesday.

CHICAGO Illinois would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults and tax it to raise at least $350 million a year for the cash-strapped state under legislation introduced on Wednesday.

The state would license and regulate businesses growing, processing, testing and selling marijuana to adults. In the eight states where recreational marijuana is legal-at least under state law, if not federal, of course-legal weed sales brought in $500 million from taxes past year, according to Yahoo Finance. The state rep from Edgewater said prohibition creates more problems than it prevents and it's time for IL to join other states that have already adopted "sensible alternatives to prohibition".

She says it would also generate revenue for education and other purposes.

The office of Gov. Bruce Rauner said the bills are under review.

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The Illinois legislation would impose a $50 per ounce tax at the wholesale level, while sales to the public would be subject to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. "Marijuana prohibition is a quagmire that creates far more problems than it prevents", Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said. But in IL, it's very hard to get a binding vote on the statewide ballot, so it would likely take legislative action to change the law.

Cassidy's proposal would make marijuana legal for anyone age 21 or older. Annually, over 100,000 Delawareans purchase marijuana illegally, resulting in millions of dollars in untaxed revenue.

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. "I warned him that the data they're using is inaccurate", the Senator said.

Colorado passed the nation's premiere recreational marijuana law in 2012 and opened its first non-medical dispensaries in January 2014.

Marijuana nonetheless remains illegal under federal law, though President Trump said prior to his election that he believed legalization should be considered state-by-state.