IL looks at legalizing and taxing marijuana

Posted March 24, 2017

Six Democratic legislators have filed Assembly Bill 1578, which would bar state and local law enforcement from cooperating in any federal enforcement activities aimed at state-legal marijuana operations.

Both proposals would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. According to the article, the bill place a tax of $50 per wholesale ounce, plus the state's standard 6.25 percent sales tax.

Two lawmakers from Chicago's North Side are sparking an effort to legalize recreational weed in IL. Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said people are exhausted of being punished for using a substance they say is "far less harmful than alcohol".

Sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D), SB 316 would legalize the possession of no more than one ounce of marijuana and allow the establishment of a regulated marijuana industry. The 14-page report claims prohibition disproportionately harms people of color, that legalization and regulation of marijuana will reduce illicit drug sales, and that taxing marijuana will generate "tens of millions of dollars" in additional revenue annually, among other things.

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Last year, a new state law also decriminalized the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, punishing it instead with fines. Eight states are already rolling in the dough from passing laws which regulate and tax marijuana for adults to use.

"I don't want this to distract from the overall conversation we need to have on the budget and the governor's failure to move it forward", he said. "I think we've studied this issue long and hard and our neighbors are moving forward". "Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor's $5 billion budget gap", Steans said.

Legal marijuana sales can generate windfall tax revenues, but the social and health costs are largely unknown, cautioned Rosalie Pacula, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization. Rauner has in the past advanced the state's medical marijuana program, if hesitatingly.