Illinois governor releases cannabis legalization plan that bans large producers in favor of developing craft growers
Under proposed rules for an adult recreational use program, the state of Illinois would preclude large-scale commercial growers and instead focus on small “craft” growers. The move is designed to create thousands of new entrepreneurs in the state, with an emphasis on minorities and communities hardest hit by prohibition and the so-called War On Drugs.
Illinois Govenor J.B. Pritzker made the announcement Saturday morning at the Black United Fund of Illinois on Chicago’s South Side.
“Illinois is going to have the most equity-centric law in the nation,” Pritzker said, pointing to a central social justice provision which would expunge an estimated 800,000 low-level drug convictions.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy, one of the measure’s sponsors stated, “We have to ensure it’s not a small group of people getting very rich. We want to make a lot of new business leaders in the state through this process.”
The proposal would create a new position for a cannabis regulation oversight officer who will be responsible for ongoing development of rules as well as coordinating the efforts of the departments of agriculture, revenue, financial and professional regulation, state police, public health, commerce and economic opportunity, and human services as they pertain to legal marijuana.
What’s in the Illinois recreational marijuana proposal?
- Illinois’ current medical marijuana program would remain unchanged. However, dispensaries would be required to assure sufficient supply for medical use.
- Allow residents 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana.
- Residents will be permitted to grow up to five plants in a locked room out of public view, with the permission of the landowner.
- Municipalities could ban retail stores within their boundaries.
- Permit fees would be $100,000 for growers and $30,000 for retailers. Lower fees would be established in minority areas disproportionately affected by prohibition.
- A business development fee will be assessed:
- 5 percent of total sales or $500,000, whichever is less, for cultivators
- Up to $200,000 for dispensaries
- 7 percent tax on wholesale marijuana
- 10 percent sales tax on products with less than 35 percent THC
- 20 percent sales tax for THC-infused products
- 25 percent sales tax on concentrates with more than 35 percent THC
- Municipalities are permitted to add an additional 3 percent sales tax
- Advertising near schools, playgrounds, public transit and public property would be prohibited
- Advertising targeted at minors would be prohibited