May: The Last Session

May is not only the month we celebrate our beautiful mothers, but also the last month of the Illinois legislative session. Why should you care?

On Saturday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that he officially plans to legalize recreational cannabis. You may know this already, given he basically rode the legalization wave all the way into office. But this time, he’s reached an agreement with Illinois lawmakers and yesterday the big measure was introduced. This is what it’s laying out for the Land of Lincoln:

  • Adults 21 years old and up will be legally allowed to purchase from licensed dispensaries
  • Residents may possess up to an ounce (28 grams), non-residents up to a half ounce (14 grams)
  • Residents may grow up to 5 plants at home, out of public view
  • Class 4 felony or misdemeanor cannabis convictions will be expunged; up to 800,000 would have automatic expungements. (At a recent town hall I verified that would include the release of people serving time for cannabis convictions, if that is the ONLY charge they are serving time for. I’ll follow up.)
  • Prior cannabis convictions will no longer prohibit ownership or employment in the industry
  • Applicants for cannabis business licenses must have an equity and inclusion program


  • Employers and landlords may adapt a zero-tolerance policy, meaning if you consume, your job or apartment is off limits. (Or you can get drug tested and get fired or evicted if smoke is smelled but let’s not go there yet)
  • NO public/social consumption, meaning you can’t smoke outside (where there is public access, apparently), in a car, or at a non-residence (that is compliant), even if the owner of the location is “420 friendly” lol.
  • Current big wig cannabis owners have the same access to applying for licenses and permits, which can eventually weed the smaller companies out (no pun intended)

Below is the Illinois Channel TV broadcast of his announcement on Saturday:

So about this town hall I attended. The presenters included Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin, Kiana Hughes of Chicago NORML, Rose Ashby, state field director for Senator Heather Steans, and Senator Michael Hastings.

“How can we make sure that they have equal footing to be able to enter into this industry as well?” Hughes stated regarding the bill addressing communities affected by the war on drugs.

Ashby addressed the public consumption issue with the solution of allowing the decision to be made at municipal levels within the state. “Locals would be able to decide if there would be some safe space or lounge or communities would have to decide that.”

Other responses included cannabis taxation mirroring that of the current liquor tax system, more public education and business incubation programs, current license holders having a monopoly in the state industry, and underage safety.


Mark your calendars!

May 10 – DEADLINE – Substantive House Bills out of Committee
May 24 – DEADLINE – Third Reading Substantive House Bills

Currently Chicago NORML is collecting opinions on the bill. To send them your feedback, click here. The Minorities for Medical Marijuana IL Chapter will also be submitting comments, and I’ll make sure to post our stand.

For more information on this bill, and who to contact to have your say, check the following links! Marijuana Policy Project NORML NORML for Medical Marjuana for Medial Marijuana IL Chapter

Follow #LegalizeIllinois on social media

Facebook: Legalize Illinois

Instagram: @legalizeILL



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