Cues *Good Morning* by Kanye West. Last Friday, Illinois lawmakers approved recreational marijuana legalization. The House of Representatives voted 66-47 to allow possession and sales beginning Jan. 1, 2020. This will make Illinois the 11th state to legalize cannabis and the first state in which a legislature approved commercial sales.
Some lawmakers who opposed passing legalization brought up points of addiction and drugged-driving deaths. Those in favor stressed the need to end the war on drugs, which has heavily affected minorities, especially in the South and West sides of Chicago.
This will make an impact on many residents in the state. Illinois residents age 21 and over may possess up to 30 grams. Out-of-state adults may possess up to 15 grams of marijuana. The governor will pardon past convictions for possession of up to 30 grams, with the attorney general going to court to expunge or delete public records of a conviction or arrest.
Currently, there are 55 medical dispensaries in Illinois. All 55 of these dispensaries will be able to apply to sell recreational cannabis, as well as apply to open a second location. Dispensaries are already game-planning on how to tend to the increase in traffic they expect starting January 1st. Everybody is included now, not just medical patients. Certain shops are planning to even double their staff by the time the law goes into effect.
This is a big win for the state of Illinois. Not only will this create jobs for many, but this will create new revenue which will lead to new resources to improve Illinois as a whole. The Marijuana Policy Project believes more than 750,000 cannabis-related cases will be eligible for expungement as well. So many people, especially in Illinois, have faced unequivocal amounts of racial profiling and unfair convictions. This is a step in the right direction. If this country wants to capitalize on this wonderful plant, they need to remove all of the people currently sitting in jail because of this wonderful plant.