SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Two Illinois lawmakers introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana.
Chicago area Democrats, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and State Sen. Heather Steans, filed the bill on Wednesday in Springfield.
Steans wants to create a new revenue source for the State of Illinois by legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.
Senate Bill 316 would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana and will allow facilities to sell marijuana products.
“It is clear that individuals across the nation are receptive to purchasing marijuana through a legal market,” Steans said. “Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois’ worsening budget problems. Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor’s $5 billion budget gap.”
Rep. Cassidy introduced identical legislation in the House.
Steans noted, the state of Oregon collected more than $60 million in new revenue from a tax on marijuana – more than six times what the Oregon Liquor Control Commission expected for the 2015-2017 budget period. Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012, collected more than $140 million in 2016 from taxes on legal marijuana.
The first public hearing is April 19.
Recreational marijuana is legal in seven states and Washington, D.C.
The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in Illinois went into effect in 2014.
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