Illinois is ready for legalization. Or is it?
On the heels of governor elect J.B. Pritzker’s official inauguration into office on January 14, the conversation about cannabis is getting real. With the topic being one of his hot button campaign focuses, Pritzker promised Illinois voters to legalize recreational use along with expanding the medical cannabis program.
With House Speaker Mike Madigan in support, and Illinois gaining national recognition for their medical program, it’s time to create provisions. State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Heather Steans have proposed a plan allowing Illinois residents to legally possess 30 grams and non-residents to possess 15 grams.
With only 45,000 registered medical cannabis patients in Illinois, and only around 2/3 actually purchasing. Therefore, legal growers and cultivators have way more than enough to sell to dispensaries. Right now.
If Illinois went recreational tomorrow, cultivators nor dispensaries would be able to meet the demand. And you know what that means. The price of legal cannabis goes up, directing more people to illegal cannabis sales.
So what’s the solution?
Legislation for more cultivation and dispensary licenses NOW. Furthermore, I charge the state, lawmakers, and advocacy groups to demand a portion of permits and licenses granted exclusively to entrepreneurs of color.
Aside from legalization, state law enforcement must engage and be educated on changing policy.
“Last year, there were 599,282 marijuana possession arrests in the country, up from 587,516 in 2016. Meanwhile, busts for cannabis sales and manufacturing dropped, from 65,734 in 2016 to 60,418 in 2017.” –insurancejournal.com
With Pritzker expecting as much as $1 billion in tax revenue from cannabis annually, it’s time for more law reformation and not just legalization proposal. Fortunately, groups like Minorities for Medical Marijuana, NORML and American For Safe Access are introducing legislation to help balance the ever-tilted scale of legalization vs decriminalization.
Aight, that’s my rant.