It's a new year and, for Illinois, a new era of recreational
Weed dispensaries across the state opened their doors before sunrise
Wednesday, welcoming long lines of customers - some who had been
waiting since 4 a.m.
"Cheers to lighting up the start of 2020!" one dispensary, Sunnyside,
wrote on its Facebook page.
Under Illinois law, anyone over 21 with a valid state ID or driver's
license can purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers.
Illinois started off the new decade by embarking into the world of
recreational marijuana, where people can buy the intoxicating plant
legally and without a prescription.
Across the Chicago area, thousands lined up - some before dawn - for a
chance to buy marijuana legally for the first time. The day featured
long lines, a few glitches - and lots of happy customers.
"It's history, so it's worth the wait," Damien Smith of Maywood said
as he left MedMen dispensary in Oak Park with a bag of cannabis
products after waiting in line for about four hours.
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CHICAGO - The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal
Wednesday in Illinois to the delight of pot fans - many who began
lining up hours early at dispensaries.
About 500 people were outside Dispensary 33 in Chicago. Renzo Mejia
made the first legal purchase in the shop shortly after 6 a.m., the
earliest that Illinois' new law allowed such sales.
"To be able to have (recreational marijuana) here is just
mind-boggling," Mejia told the Chicago Sun-Times after buying an
eighth of an ounce called "Motorbreath."
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The medical marijuana program in Illinois is seeing record growth
since changes in the law greatly expanded the program and made it
easier for patients to participate.
More than 87,000 patients have qualified for the program since stores
opened in November 2015 - including a spike of almost 37,000 in the fiscal
year ending June 30, a 93% increase, according to state records. The surge
of new patients exceeds the number signed up in any previous fiscal year,
based on the latest annual report on medical cannabis by the Illinois
Department of Public Health.
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A landmark battle in the war on drugs ended Tuesday, and a new
approach to address racial inequities began, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker
acted to legalize marijuana in Illinois effective Jan. 1, 2020.
Sponsors called the change "historic" as Pritzker signed into law a
bill that will allow Illinois residents 21 and over to possess up to
30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams
of THC infused in edibles and other products. Out-of-state visitors
may have up to half those amounts.
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Marking a historic moment in an expanding national movement, Illinois
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation that makes recreational
marijuana legal in Illinois.
After debate in Springfield earlier this year - during which one
lawmaker even cracked eggs into a frying pan to depict the "brain on
drugs" - the bill allowing possession and sales to begin on Jan. 1 was
approved by the House and Senate.
Illinois became the 11th state to legalize cannabis and the first
state in which a legislature approved commercial sales. Vermont
lawmakers legalized possession, but not yet commercial sales. Approval
in other states came via referendum.
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois' new governor delivered on a top
campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation making the state the
11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering
legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics
say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs.
Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with
criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or
less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers
and interest groups demanded. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference
to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana
sales to redevelop impoverished communities.
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Once Gov. Pritzker signs the bill into law, Illinois will become the
first state to approve cannabis sales through the Legislature, instead
of a ballot measure.
SPRINGFIELD - A recreational marijuana legalization bill will soon
land on Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk after the Illinois House on Friday
voted to pass the comprehensive measure.
The Illinois House voted 66-47 after more than three hours of debate.
The Illinois Senate on Wednesday cleared the measure. The governor
issued a statement applauding the bill's passage and pledging to sign
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