SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House has sent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker another victory by voting to legalize recreational marijuana use.
The 66-47 tally Friday 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.
Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor. He has pledged to sign the law.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s measure also includes opportunities for past convictions for possession of 30 grams or less to be cleared. The Chicago Democrat says “it is time to hi the ‘reset’ button on the War on Drugs.”
Private property owners could restrict use. Landlords could ban marijuana on their property. And employers would still be allowed to maintain “zero tolerance” policies toward marijuana use and the workplace.
Pritzker released a statement saying:
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. I applaud bipartisan members of the General Assembly for their vote on this legislation and I especially want to thank the sponsors Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy, as well as Senator Hutchinson, Senator Aquino, Leader Gordon-Booth, Representative Villanueva, the Black and Latino Caucuses, and Senator Barickman and Representative Welter for their tremendous work to make legalization a reality. In the interest of equity and criminal justice reform, I look forward to signing this monumental legislation.
Additionally Friday, details of the gaming bill emerged.
The measure would legalize sports betting but ban wagers on Illinois college teams.
Also, it approves six new casinos, including one in Chicago. Plus slot machines would be allowed at O’Hare and Midway Airports.
Chicago wouldn’t own its casino, but it would get a third of the tax receipts from what would essentially be a mega casino with 4,000 gaming positions.
The leaders waited until the deadline day to finish these big-ticket items.
The Republican minority says Democrats didn’t negotiate in good faith.
Big decision are being made all in one day. As one Republican pointed out the General Assembly is being asked to spend $80 billion on bill that they’ve had less than 12 hours to read.