Illinois has officially become the 11th U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.
As reported by the Associated Press, Illinois’ new governor signed the legislation into law today making his state the 11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs.
The new law means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers and interest groups demanded. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana sales to redevelop impoverished communities.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose election last year gave Democrats complete control over state government again after four years under GOP predecessor Bruce Rauner, signed the bill in Chicago amid a bevy of pot proponents, including the plan’s lead sponsors, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and Sen. Heather Steans, both Chicago Democrats.
“Today, we’re hitting the ‘reset’ button on the war on drugs,” Cassidy said.
Residents may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents may