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Illinois Becomes 11th State to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

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This week Illinois will become the 11th state in the US (not including DC) to legalize cannabis for recreational use for adults 21 and over, ABC news reports. After HB 1438 is signed by governor J.B. Pritzker (D), it will mark the first time recreational cannabis was legalized via legislation. All ten current legal states and DC legalized cannabis via ballot initiative.

This bill will also make history as the first legislation passed having to do with cannabis legalization that also involves expunging cannabis charges from the records of Illinois residents in what Pritzker called an “equity centric approach.” What Pritzker means is that this is the first legalization bill that attempts to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs.

Pritzker, a billionaire businessman for governor in last year’s midterm elections, on the premise of legalizing cannabis, something that he made the cornerstone of his campaign. His story is similar to that of New Jersey governor Phil Murphy who also campaigned on legalizing weed and also ended up winning handily over his opponent. I’ve said before that legalizing cannabis was a winning strategy, but now I want to scream it from the rooftops.

I must say that it is refreshing to see someone acknowledge that legalization should do more than simply legalize weed. As we’ve seen arrests of poor and/or PoC in legal states have stayed pretty much the same, while predominantly white people capitalize on pot’s popularity. Expunging old records has only been tried by large cities up until this point. Maybe now we’ll see some meaningful change in drug policy in the criminal justice system. Or maybe I’m just high. Either way, go Illinois!

Source: ABC News

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