Illinois Governor Promises To Work Toward Cannabis Legalization

The state of Illinois banned cannabis in 1931, several years before the federal government made it illegal nationwide. Nearly ninety years later, the state is making a complete policy reversal.

The Illinois General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in 2013 and decriminalized possession of up to ten grams of marijuana in 2016. Now, the state’s new governor is looking to join the growing number of states that have passed adult-use cannabis laws.

J.B. Pritzker [D] took the oath of office and officially assumed the position of Governor of Illinois on Monday, replacing Bruce Rauner [R]. A cannabis supporter, Pritzker stated during his inaugural address that he would be taking steps to bring legal marijuana to the state.

Pritzker made cannabis legalization a core element of his 2018 campaign for the governor’s seat.

“In the interests of keeping the public safe from harm, and in the interests of expanding true justice in our criminal justice system, and advancing economic inclusion,” said Pritzker in his inaugural address. “I will work with the legislature to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of recreational cannabis in Illinois.”

Continuing the ongoing national trend, Pritzker isn’t the only governor voicing their legalization intentions this week.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo [D] plans to suggest ending cannabis prohibition in the state during her budget proposal this week, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [D] stated during his inaugural speech Tuesday that he intends to draft a progressive agenda within 100 days that includes marijuana legalization.