History of CBD and Cannabis: Illinois
After years of appeals and public pressure, state lawmakers finally listened. In January of 2020, cannabis will become fully legal for recreational use in Illinois.
This decision was prompted after over a year of the wildly successful statewide implementation of the medical cannabis and opioid alternative program. Over 82,000 qualified patients participated and some studies now claim that the entire state will see a significant dip in opioid addiction after recreational legalization.
Since November 2015, retail cannabis sales have topped whopping $386 million across 55 dispensaries. Agriculturalists are rushing in and constantly attempting to gain access to the highly lucrative industry, as one acre of cannabis is worth thirty times more than one acre of corn.
After recreational use is fully implemented, it’s expected the industry will reach an estimated 1.6 billion within the year. Interesting, Illinois was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through a state legislature rather than a citizen-driven ballot initiative.
As the eleventh state to legalize marijuana, experts are hopeful that the entire state will see tremendous growth in economic and social prosperity.
Cannabis, CBD, and Illinois
It was in 1931 that Illinois first enacted prohibition of recreational cannabis use, which was a part of a larger national trend across thirty states in the early twentieth century.
For decades, legislative policy and police enforcement treated cannabis use the same. Offenders possessing just trace amounts of marijuana could be slapped with huge fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. Certain cities enacted additional rules for recurrent offenders, such as penalizing drug users with hours of community service requirements.
It wasn’t until 1978 that the legislature started listening to research that spoke of the medical benefits of cannabis. Illinois policy makers ended up passing the Cannabis Control Act, which allowed for the sale and distribution of medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, the law actually never came into effect since the state police and human resource management boards would’ve needed to take action. Neither department was in support of medical cannabis policy, so it failed immediately upon passage.
In 2013, the General Assembly passed the Compassionate Pilot Program. Under very certain qualifying conditions, doctors could prescribe marijuana to licensed patients in small quantities. For years after its implementation, the number of qualified patients doubled annually.
By 2016, cannabis became decriminalized as the punishment was reduced to a mere $100 fine for under ten grams in possession.
These early statewide efforts later emboldened lawmakers to create a more robust, powerful cannabis regulatory framework. Only a year later, officials proposed a recreational marijuana law that would allow consumers to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis and to grow five plants. Early estimates found the program would generate 300 to 750 million in annual sales.
With time, the medical and recreational cannabis programs are only becoming more robust and widespread. Revamps to the medical program now allows former felons access to cannabis without background checks.