ACEH UTARA, INDONESIA – 2019/12/17: View of a cannabis plant at a field in Aceh Utara, Indonesia. … [+]
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Starting January 1st, cannabis will officially be legal in Illinois. Sales are expected to begin as early as 6am on January 1, at the nine shops that have been given the go ahead from state regulators, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Illinois was previously a medical-only state. While the state currently has a 37 stores that are licensed for medical sales, only nine shops are authorized to sell cannabis recreationally when the clock strikes twelve.
Like many other states, the new law makes it legal to both use cannabis and possess it in the state. Those in Illinois can have up to 30 grams of plant material, 5 grams of concentrate, or 500mg of edibles without breaking the law.
Also like many other states, sales won’t be happening everywhere. Some suburbs chose to prohibit dispensaries in their area, which means residents of those areas might have to travel to make a purchase.
Cannabis users won’t be able to consume or use marijuana in public areas or in places like parks, schools, or on public transportation. Cannabis use also isn’t allowed in a motor vehicle or near minors.
Illinois adds to a growing number of states in the United States that have started to allow recreational cannabis sales. The first states, Colorado and Washington, legalized recreational use in 2012.
Illinois will be the 11th state to make recreational marijuana legal, joining California, Alaska, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont. Recreational marijuana is also legal in the District of Columbia, although no sales happen in the state.
In states that have legalized recreational marijuana, the states have seen a drop in drug-related arrests, amongst other things, as well as an increase in tax revenue. Recreational cannabis is often heavily taxed by states.
Despite states slowly legalizing the plant, cannabis still remains illegal under federal law courtesy of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. So, while you can have a joint in Chicago starting tomorrow, you still won’t legally be able to enter an airport with cannabis, and traveling to another state with cannabis purchased legally in Illinois could be considered a crime.