Illinois Senate passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana use

Illinois Senate passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana use
© Getty

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana.

The state chamber passed the measure in a 38-17 vote on Wednesday. The bill now heads to the state House for consideration.

ADVERTISEMENT

Under the measure, also called the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the state would legalize the “use of cannabis" for "persons 21 years of age or older and should be taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.” 

The bill would allow “legitimate, taxpaying business people” to conduct sales of cannabis and that “selling, distributing, or transferring cannabis to minors and other persons under 21 years of age” would remain illegal.

Similar to how the law applies to alcohol, people would also be legally required under the new measure to “show proof of age before purchasing cannabis” and would be prohibited from driving under the influence of the cannabis.

Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who co-sponsored the measure, told The State Journal-Register that Gov. J.B. Pritzker indicated interest in pardoning what could be hundreds of inmates who were placed behind bars over marijuana offenses.

“I would say that this is the largest piece of expungement in a criminal-justice reform aspect in the country — I would probably say in the world,” she told the paper. 

“There’s been nothing that’s been attempted to be this big in one piece of legislation, ever,” she added. “We are standing on the step of history.”