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Illinois Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Although many federal laws in the United States still hold cannabis under the category of a Schedule 1 substance, this hasn’t stopped state-level conversations on fully legalizing the substance.

Yesterday, June 25, 2019, the State of Illinois announced that come January 1st 2020, recreational cannabis will be legal for purchase and consumption. This marks Illinois as the 11th state in the United States to legalize recreational cannabis. Significantly, this will be the first case where cannabis legalization will be pushed forth by the legislature. Along with this news comes the opportunity to make serious criminal reforms for those previously charged with minor cannabis offenses.

This recent victory for licensed producers and recreational users stems the question that’s on everyone’s lips: how will this sway the surrounding Democrat-led states that are teetering on the edge of recreational legalization? Looking at you New York!

These new laws will allow 21+ consumers to purchase up to 30 grams at a time (though non-Illinois residents are limited to 15 grams) at approved dispensaries. The finer details as to how the retailers will apply, and be approved, for the sale of cannabis are still yet to be fully revealed. However, it’s estimated that the state’s taxation on cannabis could produce upwards of $800 million per year.

Compare that to the tax revenue produced by the Canadian government in the first five and a half months of legalization. As it stands, cannabis has delivered $186 million from general goods and service taxes for provinces. It’s worth noting that the total population of Illinois sits at around 12 million versus Canada’s 37 million. Though the full spread of retail stores in Canada hasn’t been as ‘free market’ as companies would have liked, perhaps the new potential for economic growth seated so close to home will give regulators a nudge in the right direction

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