Illinois Recreational Weed Is Here! What Happens Now?
This past week, Illinois made history becoming the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This serves as a huge win for cannabis lovers across the country as more and more states transition into accepting cannabis consumption.
But Gov. J.B. Pritzker didn’t stop at just making marijuana legal, he also added some social justice benefits that are going to positively impact the lives of people in his state. Now that Illinois recreational weed is here, users and producers have a lot of questions about what comes next.
Interested in the breakdown of these new laws? Keep reading to learn what’s next for the marijuana industry in Illinois!
Learning The New Law
The new law that passed in Illinois permits residents of 21 years old and up to possess marijuana for recreational purposes.
This law takes effect in 2020 and will allow residents to be able to have up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 500 milligrams of THC products, and up to 5 grams of marijuana concentrates. Non-residents are also permitted 15 grams of flower.
But what’s unique about these set of laws is that they don’t just stop at legalization. The new governor, J.B. Pritzker, also is focusing this legislation on expunging the criminal records of over 800,000 residents who got charged with possessing or purchasing 30 grams or less of cannabis.
This a huge breakthrough in recent cannabis legislation and clears the record of non-violent offenders on a case by case basis. Either via immediate expungement or gubernatorial pardon.
It also allows individuals who received a conviction on amounts larger than 30 grams to petition the courts for a chance to have the charges lifted.
But that’s not all.
The new marijuana law also states that ¼ of the state tax revenue generated from this industry will be used to redevelop communities living in poverty. This aspect of the law is geared towards helping those communities who have experienced targeting as a result of the war on drugs.
Vendor preference will also be granted to these minority owners. And startup businesses related to the state’s new cannabis industry will receive funding as well as job training paid for by the state.
Now that you know the overall outline of this law it’s time to talk about dispensaries. Illinois already is home to 55 dispensaries that sell medical cannabis.
These dispensaries get the first chance at applying for licenses to sell recreationally. They will be allowed to dispense recreational marijuana at their current established locations as well as get a second license if they wish to open up another location.
This is good news to users who are eager to get their hands on legal weed. These set of dispensaries will most likely be ready to open at the beginning of the year when the laws go into effect.
Starting in October another application period will open to licensing 75 additional dispensaries throughout the state. But these additional 75 licenses won’t be issued until May of 2020.
After that process is complete the state plans on conducting a market study on the cannabis industry and will potentially distribute more licenses based on their findings.
One of the main driving points for states to legalize recreational marijuana is to generate tax revenue. Although no one knows the exact amount that will be generated as a result of this new industry it is estimated that within five years the taxation of marijuana will generate $500 million annually.
There will be a 7% tax on cannabis and cannabis products at the wholesale level. When it comes to retail tax, once again Illinois is taking its own approach.
Instead of having a general set retail tax as you find in most marijuana-friendly states, the tax rate will coincide with the potency of the product. Meaning the higher the THC levels, the higher the tax.
For products containing 35% THC or less, only a 10% tax would be applied. Edibles or any other products that have been infused with THC will receive a 20% tax. And a 25% tax will be applied to any product with a THC concentration of over 35%.
All of these taxes are going to be applied in addition to the state tax which is 6.25%.
This tax revenue, as previously mentioned, is going to be used to help minority communities within the state that are suffering from poverty. The revenue is also going to be used to pay for the expungement of criminal records and mental health and substance abuse services.
Locations That Prohibit Consumption
Even though marijuana is now legalized, it’s still prohibited in public places including streets and parks. It is also not allowed to use while operating a vehicle or around anyone who is not 21 years old.
It is of course allowed within the comfort of your own home just as long as your neighbors outside can’t see.
However, laws will vary slightly depending on the county. Counties have the right to ban marijuana businesses but luckily they aren’t allowed to ban personal possession.
And any person or business owner is also allowed to prohibit use on their own private property.
Enjoying Illinois Recreational Weed
The new laws that have passed regarding Illinois recreational weed are truly groundbreaking.
Although Illinois was the 11th state to legalize marijuana, their focus on using this industry to help those who have experienced harm from harsh drug laws in the past is unique to any of the cannabis legalization we’ve seen thus far.
As a resident or visitor of Illinois, you will be able to enjoy the benefits from these new laws in less than a year. If you’re in need of a medical marijuana card before these laws take effect, head over to our appointment calendar to get started. Why should you get a card? Simple. You will have access to better products, receive priority on inventory, and have the ability to grow your own medicine. Want to learn more?