Illinois Senate passes marijuana legalization bill, sends it to House

Published: May. 30, 2019 at 12:27 AM CDT
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The Illinois Senate has approved legalized recreational marijuana use.

Restrictions on home cultivation and a tightened process for clearing past pot convictions helped move the plan to passage. The Democratic-led chamber approved it 38-17 Wednesday night.

The measure would allow residents 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries like 10 other states. Possession of up to one ounce (30 grams) would be allowed for residents. Non-residents could possess 15 grams.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their homes. Steans’ final version allows only the 65,000 Illinois patients qualified for the medical-cannabis law to grow their own.

So-called home grow rules have proved troublesome in other states. States with legalized recreational use have different home grow rules. Opponents say home grow encourages black-market sales. Proponents argue that if businesses can sell it, they should be able to grow it.

Those convicted in the past of possession of 30 grams or less could have their records expunged. Steans tightened provisions for clearing convictions of 30 to 500 grams which Republicans requested.

The Democratic-controlled House must approve the plan before Friday’s scheduled adjournment. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on legalizing recreational use.

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