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Illinois lawmakers send recreational marijuana bill to governor's desk

The Illinois House has sent Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker another victory by voting to legalize recreational marijuana use with a vote of 66-47. The bill passed the Illinois Senate Thursday.

Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor. He has pledged to sign the bill into law.

The law would take effect January 1, 2020 once signed. Illinois would then become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first state to do so through its legislature and not through a ballot measure.

The bill would allow those 21 and older to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year. Residents could possess up to one ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy's measure also includes opportunities for past convictions for possession of 30 grams or less to be cleared through a pardon by the governor. Convictions related to possession of 30 grams to 500 grams could be vacated if a state attorney or individual successfully petitions the court.

The Chicago Democrat said "it is time to hit the 'reset' button on the War on Drugs."

Pritzker praised the move legalizing recreational marijuana: "The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance."

According to the bill, cannabis products may not be transported over state lines, and tax revenue will cover needs and costs related to expungement or the clearing of marijuana related records before it's broken out.

Additionally, local towns can decide individually how cannabis-related businesses may fit into their communities and employers may still maintain zero tolerance workplaces. Landlords and business owners can have zero tolerance policies as well.

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