Illinois´s new law to legalize medical cannabis became effective as of Jan. 1st, 2020. The first day of sales cannabis dispensaries recorded 3.2 million dollars worth of sales. This is a smashing success for the first day. Cannabis is taxed in Illinois at 33 percent, with 30 percent going to the state and 3 percent going to the municipality. This will be an important new revenue source for the state of Illinois.
Cannabis legalization helps Illinois in other ways. The state expunged 11,000 cannabis-related convictions as a part of the new law, and the state may expunge an additional 700,000. As the state ends the war on cannabis, it will reduce violence across the state including Chicago. The war on drugs not only destroys the lives of people by giving them criminal records, but it also is responsible for creating violent crime. As drug sales are driven underground by police, dealers simply organize and by arms. Any conflict between them is a violent one.
The severely damaged relations between communities and police as a result of the war on drugs and related racial profiling are a factor in why communities cannot turn violent criminals into the police. The other factor is that they fear being killed. Legalizing reduces income to criminal organizations. They have less income to buy weapons, and with less police pressure on them, there are less violent. With fewer people who are unable to work because of criminal records, the gangs have fewer potential recruits.
In short, it is wonderful to hear the successful legalization of cannabis in Illinois. As Illinois has the nation´s third-largest city Chicago, on a long term basis this could significantly contribute to the reduction of violence in Chicago. It will also put pressure on Illinois´ neighbors to legalize cannabis. And yes, it will ultimately lead to decriminalization or legalization of other drugs.