Push is on to drop marijuana ban in IL

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H. 170, sponsored by Committee Chair Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Vice Chair Charles Conquest (D-Wells River), and ranking Republican Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), would eliminate Vermont's civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, and it would eliminate penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants.

Lawmakers are proposing to legalize recreational marijuana in IL but say the legislation probably won't come up for a vote until next year.

Both bills call for taxing marijuana at $50 per ounce, wholesale level, plus the standard IL sales tax rate. Steans pointed to data showing OR collected more than $60 million in new tax revenue from the sale of marijuana, and Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, collected more than $140 million in 2016 from legal marijuana sales.

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Eleni Demertzis, a spokesperson for Gov. Bruce Rauner, told Chicagoist via email that "the two bills are now under review" by the governor's office.

The co-sponsors, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353 would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana and allow facilities to sell marijuana products for adults over 21 and tax those sales "in a manner similar to alcohol".

General Revenue Fund: 50 percent.

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"The tax revenue comes right away", Pacula said.

The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in IL went into effect in 2014. But without a broad qualifying condition like chronic pain, as some other states have, the number of patients has been limited to about 17,000, with current retail sales of about $5 million a month. Rauner has in the past advanced the state's medical marijuana program, if hesitatingly.

Steans noted, the state of Oregon collected more than $60 million in new revenue from a tax on marijuana - more than six times what the Oregon Liquor Control Commission expected for the 2015-2017 budget period. "It's a realistic approach".

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