Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzger, who campaigned on the promise of legalization, will soon put his signature on a bipartisan bill passed by the Illinois House on May 31, making his state the 11th to fully legalize cannabis.
What does legalization mean for Illinois?
This bill will make Illinois the first state to create a “commercial recreational marijuana industry” through the legislature rather than by voter initiative. In Illinois, medical and recreational marijuana use will be fully legal once the bill becomes law.
The bill will allow residents over the age of 21 to “legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis.”
In addition to creating a licensed dispensary system, the bill will direct Pritzger to pardon Illinois residents with past convictions for low-level marijuana possession, adding a progressive and restorative element to the new law.
What Cannabis Analysts are Saying
Analyst Aaron Grey of Alliance Global Partners writes that Illinois “is the first to achieve legalization involving retail stores through the legislative process and may serve as a template for other states seeking to do the same,” and claims that sales in the state may reach just under $3 billion in five years. This new bill may also encourage other states tabling similar bills to follow suit.
Analyst Rob Fagan of Canada’s GMP Securities points out that this bill will double the number of stores each sales license allows from five to 10, with current holders of medical dispensary licenses first in line. This will give established businesses a 6 to 12 month head start over new applicants.
So if you are on the fence about starting a CBD or cannabis related business, you may want to get moving as any states that follow in Illinois’ legislative footsteps will likely give established businesses this incumbent bonus. Once legalization and regulation set in, the flood gates will open.
Where is Recreational Marijuana Legal?
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont, Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska and Washington D.C. Illinois will be the 11th state will a fully legalized marijuana market.