Illinois governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana use

Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) on Tuesday signed a bill making recreational marijuana legal in the state beginning next year.

Approval of the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act means Illinois joins 11 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the drug. Illinois is the first state in which a legislature approved commercial sales.

The legislation will allow licensed growth, sales, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

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Only state-licensed businesses will be allowed to grow, process or sell the product.

Residents will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product such as an edible and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.

The legislation was approved by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly last month.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The bill in Illinois is a big win for marijuana legalization advocates.

“We applaud the Illinois Legislature and Gov. Pritzker on this resounding victory for personal liberty, racial justice, and common sense," Steve Hawkins, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.

"Illinois’ focus on fairness and equity in legalization should be a model for other states.”

Legalization bills have died in New Jersey, Connecticut and New Mexico this year. In New Hampshire, the Democratic-controlled legislature stopped work on a legalization bill after Gov. Chris Sununu (R) made clear he would veto it.