New bills introduced by two Chicago Democrats would legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and usage in Illinois.
The two bills, introduced on Wednesday by State Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, would allow adults aged 21 and over to possess, grow, and purchase a limited amount of marijuana.
“Marijuana prohibition is a quagmire that creates far more problems than it prevents,” Cassidy said. “Several states have adopted sensible alternatives to prohibition, and it is time for Illinois to develop its own exit strategy. Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer.”
Under the proposed regime, the state would license and regulate businesses growing, processing, testing and selling cannabis to adults, and tax it at a rate of $50 per ounce at the whole sale level. Consumer purchases would be subject to a 6.25 percent sales tax.
The Colorado-based Marijuana Policy Project predicts marijuana sales could raise between $249 to $699 million in new revenue for Illinois per year.