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After Percolating for 6 Months, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act Has Finally Arrived

After Percolating for 6 Months, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act Has Finally Arrived

Illinois residents spent almost $20 million on recreational marijuana in the first dozen days of legalization, outpacing the majority of states that have already legalized the psychoactive drug championed by celebrities like Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg. Now, Illinois residents are offering some high praise for the new rule, which will allow them to do much more than seek alternative treatments for glaucoma. 

According to Toi Hutchinson, who once worked as a Democratic state senator from Olympia Fields and currently co-sponsors the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act, “Members of those communities will have the opportunity to apply for licenses to open a dispensary, become a craft grower or infuser, or transport product under the new law.” 

What makes Illinois unique is the equity-centric approach being embraced to legalize cannabis. Hutchinson believes that Illinois has experienced a “far more successful launch of cannabis than many other states.” And as we’ll discuss in this article, there’s a lot of evidence to back up her claims. 

Blazing the Trail for Cannabis Reform

In order to gauge the impact of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (CRTA), it’s important that we take a look at the steps that were taken to get to this point. Below is an abridged timeline of the CRTA timeline:

  • May 31, 2019: The Illinois legislature passes the Illinois Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (CRTA).
  • June 25, 2019: Illinois Governor signs the CRTA into law, bringing recreational marijuana to Illinois and altering the requirements for drug-testing in the workplace to make it so that employers cannot terminate or discipline an employee for failing to pass a drug screening due to marijuana use (unless using or becoming impaired in the workplace).
  • September-October 2019: Employers voiced their concerns about the inability to implement zero tolerance policies for marijuana users.
  • November 14, 2019: The legislature passed amendments to the CRTA in response to the business community’s concerns.
  • December 4, 2019: The governor signed the amendments into law, effective on the first of the year. This version of the law brought back zero tolerance policies, random drug testing, the ability to nullify job offers on the basis of marijuana use, and did away with penalties for employers who simply want to institute reasonable workplace drug policies.
  • January 2020: CRTA became effective, officially rendering recreational marijuana legal in Illinois.

A Dope Idea: Marijuna Tax Revenue Supports the Underserved and More

One of the most important things to consider when weighing the pros and cons of cannabis reform is how tax revenue taken from cannabis sales will serve the community. In Illinois, tax revenue will be divided up in the following way:

  • 35 percent to the Illinois general fund.
  • 25 percent to R3 (restore, reinvest, and renew areas disproportionately affected by the prohibition of marijuna). 
  • 20 percent to mental health and substance use treatment.
  • 10 percent to help ease Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills (~$14.3 billion).
  • 8 percent to support local law enforcement.
  • 2 percent to public education and efforts to analyze the effects of cannabis legalization.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Cotney Construction Lobbying, LLC does not provide legal services and any statements made on this website are intended to apply only to non-legal, lobbying services.