Cannabis prohibition hasn’t worked any better than alcohol prohibition did in the 1920s. House Bill 2353 and Senate Bill 316 would take a better approach, one that’s already working in other states.
Here is a snapshot of how a tax-and-regulate approach would work in Illinois:
- These bills would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and consume cannabis and establish a system to tax and regulate production and sales.
- Adults could purchase up to one ounce of cannabis from a licensed store and could securely and discreetly grow up to five plants.
- All cannabis sold would be taxed at the state’s sales tax of 6.25%, and wholesale transactions would be taxed at a rate of $50 per ounce.
- All cannabis controlled in the program would be tested for potency and to ensure it is free from pesticides or other contaminants.
- In addition to licensing and testing requirements, businesses would be subject to comprehensive rules governing security, background checks, packaging, recordkeeping, advertising, locations, signage, and many others.
- Local communities could restrict or even prohibit businesses from operating within their jurisdictions.
- Regulation means hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue to the state. Under the bills, 30% would go to education, 10% would be spent on substance abuse treatment, 10% would be used for a public safety campaign on the risks of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis, and 50% would be allocated to the General Fund.
For more details about the bill, check out this handout.
The time is right for the Illinois General Assembly to re-examine cannabis prohibition and consider the potential benefits of a thoughtfully crafted regulatory system. Every senator and representative should hear from their constituents – have your lawmakers heard from you yet? Click here to send an email right now and make your voice heard!