On Jan. 2, 2020, new recreational marijuana laws went into effect in Illinois, and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton (D) took full advantage by being one of the first in line at a marijuana dispensary.
Stratton stood outside Chicago’s Sunnyside Dispensary with hundreds of other patrons waiting to make her purchase. Once inside, she bought a 100-milligram tin of Mindy’s Edibles Glazed Clementine Orange Gummies, according to Cresco Labs, a cannabis company.
On Wednesday she tweeted: “For too long, IL residents, particularly those that are black & brown, have been targeted and criminalized for #cannabis possession. It’s not just a new year, it’s a new day. Thank you, @GovPritzker, for ending prohibition and building a more equitable Illinois.”
Medical marijuana was already legalized in Illinois, and now it is the eleventh state to allow the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. The law was approved by the Democratic-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). The recreational law allows anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower and up to five grams of marijuana concentrate.
Alongside the new legislation measure, Pritzker announced on Tuesday that he granted 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on Dec. 31, 2019.
Pritzker defended the new law in December: “Our goal is not to immediately deliver as much access to recreational cannabis as possible as quickly as possible.” This comment was made during a ceremony where he signed a document that adjusted parts of the bill, which passed in June.
“We want black and brown people, we want people who’ve been left out and left behind, to have a real opportunity to not only benefit from this new industry but to create new millionaires in the black community, in the Latino community, all across the state,” Pritzker declared. He hopes that the new law will diversify the legal marijuana industry in Illinois.
Three dozen cannabis dispensaries have been issued licenses to sell recreational marijuana in Illinois. According to estimates by state officials, cannabis sales are expected to generate $250 million for the state by 2022.
By Jeanette Vietti
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