Girl holding marijuana leaf
Copyright: atomazul / 123RF Stock Photo

Despite uncertainty concerning the Trump Administration’s stance on recreational cannabis and its willingness to adhere to the Cole Memorandum, legislation was recently introduced in Illinois to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes (medical cannabis is already legal in Illinois). Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353 would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate, sell, purchase, and consume limited amounts of cannabis.[1] The bills were sponsored by Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

Based on usage rates and retail sales of recreational cannabis in Colorado, the Marijuana Policy Project, a national advocacy group, estimates that regulated cannabis sales in Illinois could generate $350 million to $700 million in new revenue per year.[2]

Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy indicated they do not plan to call the bill for a vote this session, but will hold hearings to determine if enough support can be generated for a legalization bill next year.[3] The bills propose to allow current medical cannabis dispensaries to be able to sell cannabis for recreational purposes for up to one year before any new establishments receive licenses to sell cannabis for recreational use.[4]

If passed, Illinois would join 8 other states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia that have passed laws allowing the recreational use of cannabis.

[1] 720 ILCS 550/3.5.



[4] 410 ILCS 130/115(g).