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Is weed legal in Illinois? Understanding state's marijuana laws

(CBS) -- Is weed legal in Illinois? 

The answer is yes, with certain restrictions. 

As of January 2020, adults over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana for recreational use from licensed state dispensaries. There are possession limits as well:  30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and no more than 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product. 

Users can't smoke in public places or while driving.  Homeowners can smoke in their own homes.  Renters will have to ask their landlords for permission. Locations, where tobacco smoking is illegal, apply to weed, too. 

Legal sales are becoming big business for the state. According to the state's 2022 marijuana report, Illinois collected $1.5 billion in sales last year, $1.2 billion in 2021, and $406 million in 2020. 

The legalization of recreational marijuana does not affect the state's medical marijuana program.  The state law requires growers and dispensaries to reserve enough supply to meet patients' needs. Sales of pot for medical purposes began in 2015. 

The state has also moved to expunge arrests of people who were arrested with less than 30 grams of marijuana, provided they also weren't convicted of a violent crime. Gov JB Pritzker has pardoned thousands convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.

As Illinois released hundreds of licenses for marijuana dispensaries, plans to reserve some for minority-owned businesses floundered. 

Akele Parnell, who won one of the new dispensary licenses from the state, never imagined the process would take this long after recreational marijuana was made legal in Illinois in 2020.

"Absolutely not. I think at the most, we thought maybe it would be a couple of months' delay," he told CBS 2's Tara Molina in November 2022. 

Instead, it ended up being a 2 ½ year waiting game for those looking to break into the state's marijuana industry.

"Black and Brown entrepreneurs are just sitting on the sidelines watching," he said.

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