Introduction to Cannabis Legalization in Illinois and the U.S.

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  • Statutory
  • Timeline and Cannabis Regulation
  • Cannabis Regulation by State
  • Summary of Recent Findings

Statutory

(410 ILCS 705/55-80)
Sec. 55-80. Annual reports.

Source: https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/effect-state-marijuana-legalizations-2021-update#health-suicides

(d) The Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee shall submit to the General Assembly and Governor a report, by September 30 of each year, that does not disclose any identifying information about any individuals, but does contain, at a minimum: 1.

  1. Self-reported youth cannabis use, as published in the most recent Illinois Youth Survey available;
  2. Self-reported adult cannabis use, as published in the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey available;
  3. Hospital room admissions and hospital utilization rates caused by cannabis consumption, including the presence or detection of other drugs;
  4. Overdoses of cannabis and poison control data, including the presence of other drugs that may have contributed;
  5. Incidents of impaired driving caused by the consumption of cannabis or cannabis products, including the presence of other drugs or alcohol that may have contributed to the impaired driving;
  6. Prevalence of infants born testing positive for cannabis or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, including demographic and racial information on which infants are tested;
  7. Public perceptions of use and risk of harm;
  8. Revenue collected from cannabis taxation and how that revenue was used;
  9. Cannabis retail licenses granted and locations;
  10. Cannabis-related arrests; and
  11. The number of individuals completing required bud tender training.

(e) Each agency or committee submitting reports under this Section may consult with one another in the preparation of each report.

Source: https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/effect-state-marijuana-legalizations-2021-update#health-suicides

There have not been any large changes in regards to Cannabis legislation from 2021 to 2022. Changes have included the creation of new lotteries for licenses, greater dispensary access for medical cannabis users, and the expansion of rights for requests for expungement.

Jun 27, 2012

Chicago City Council votes to decriminalized marijuana possession. Provides that possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana is punishable by a fine of between $250 and $500. (Effective August 4, 2012.)

Source: view - (www.chicago.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Aug 4, 2012

Chicago ordinance to fine marijuana possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana takes effect.

Aug 1, 2013

Governor signs into law the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (Public Act 098-0122). (Effective January 1, 2014.)

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Jan 1, 2014

Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act enacted. Serves as a four-year pilot program and provides that when a person has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, the person and the person's primary caregiver may be issued a registry identification card by the Department of Public Health that permits the person or the person's primary caregiver to legally possess no more 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis during a 14-day period that is derived solely from an intrastate source.

Jul 21, 2014

Governor approves amendments to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act by changing Sections 10 and 60; adds seizures to the definition of debilitating conditions and allowed persons under age 18 to apply for medical cannabis registration card. (Public Act 098-0775). (Effective January 1, 2015.)

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Jan 1, 2015

Amendments to Sections 10 and 60 of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act take effect.

Jun 30, 2016

Governor approves amendments to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act by changing Sections 2, 3, 4, and 9 and by adding 6.1 and 6.2 (Public Act 099-519); extends pilot through 6/20/20, adds PTSD to the definition of debilitating conditions, and establishes a three-year cycle for patient applications. Amendments effective immediately.

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Jul 29, 2016

Governor approves amendments to the Cannabis Control Act (Public Act 099- 0697); decriminalizes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, making it a civil offense punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200, and provides that law enforcement will automatically expunge the civil citation from the record of anyone charged with possessing 10 or fewer grams of marijuana within six months. Amendments effective immediately.

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Aug 1, 2018

Governor approves amendments to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program by changing Section 30 (Public Act 100-0660); allows caregivers of minor registered patients to administer medical cannabis on school property, also known as “Ashley's Law”. Amendments effective immediately.

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Aug 28, 2018

Governor approves amendments to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act by changing Sections 5, 7, 10, 35, 55, 60, 65, 75, 130, and 160 and adding Sections 36 and 6. Governor also signs into law the Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018 (Public Act 100-1114).

Changes include the establishment of the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program, provide provisional access to dispensaries for medical cannabis patient applicants, remove fingerprinting requirements and eliminate disqualifying criminal offenses, prohibit organizations from charging fee for assisting with application, made the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program and Opioid Alternative Pilot Program permanent, allow veterans receiving medical services at VA facilities to participate in OAPP, added PA/APN/NP to providers who can certify, expand list of debilitating conditions, increase number of possible caregivers to 3, and require dispensary changes. Amendments effective immediately. (Opioid Alternative Pilot Program begins January 31, 2019).

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Jan 31, 2019

Opioid Alternative Pilot Program launches; provides access to medical cannabis for individuals who have or could receive a prescription for opioids as certified by a physician licensed in Illinois. Veterans with a current prescription for an opioid who are receiving services at a VA will be eligible for the program on September 30, 2019.

Source: view - (dph.illinois.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Jun 25, 2019

Governor signs into law the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Public Act 101-0027). (Effective January 1, 2020.) Possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis became immediately legal.

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Jan 1, 2020

Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allows adults 21 to purchase cannabis products in licensed stores and allows registered medical cannabis patients to grow up to 5 cannabis plants for personal consumption. An adult Illinois resident may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis infused product. Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will provide to adult consumers until additional licensees can apply and get approved. Also authorized the automatic expungement of arrests and convictions for “minor cannabis offenses,” defined as involving not more than 30 grams, no enhancements, and no violence.

Jul 15, 2021

Illinois passed HB1443 and made amendments to both the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act (Public Act 102-0098). These changes were effective immediately. The changes to the CRTA created two new lotteries for 110 additional licenses. The first 55 licenses were available to applicants that scored at least 85% on their submission to the 75 original licenses.

The second 55 licenses were available to applicants that scored at least 85% on their submission and must also qualify as a social equity applicant (i.e. majority ownership must be someone who has (a) lived in an area impacted by the war on drugs for 10 years, (b) be a member of a family impacted by the war on drugs, or (c) have been arrested or convicted of a marijuana crime eligible for expungement). The changes to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act allowed medical cannabis patients to purchase cannabis at any dispensary. Previously, patients were required to purchase from a single designated dispensary.

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

May 27, 2022

On May 27th, 2022, Illinois amended the Criminal Identification Act (Public Act 102-0933). The changes now prohibit courts from denying a petitioner’s request for expungement solely because of marijuana drug test failure. Previously, negative marijuana drug tests were required within 30 days prior to filing the petition. These changes are effective January 1, 2023.

Source: view - (www.ilga.gov)icon for opening in another tab

Medical-Use Update: 38 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products.

Adult-Use Update: 22 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have a regulated Adult use program.

Low-THC Update: 9 states allow the use of “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.

Since our last report in August 2022, Maryland, Missouri, and Delaware have legalized adult use, while Kentucky legalized medical cannabis use.

United States Map of Regulated Cannabis Programs

Topic:

General consideration of the benefits and harms of legalized recreational cannabis

Methods:

Review of peer-reviewed studies indexed by the National Library of Medicine and published between Jan 1, 2023 and Jun 30, 2023. Emphasis given to systematic reviews, national studies, and meta-analyses.

Findings:

While the findings are mixed, recent studies indicate four emerging problem areas associated with cannabis legalization:

  1. increases in traffic fatalities
  2. increases in pediatric poisonings
  3. an association with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  4. increases in pre-term births among infants born to mothers using cannabis while pregnant

Benefits include:

  1. decreases in arrests and incarcerations for cannabis-related offenses
  2. decreases in opioid and benzodiazepine-related fatalities but only for recreational cannabis legalization, not for medical cannabis legalization

The effects of cannabis use among youth are unclear and appear to be modest though recreational cannabis legalization might be associated with increased use of e-cigarettes and vaping.

Study:

Dills A, Goffard S, Miron J, Partin E. The effect of state marijuana legalizations: 2021 update. Washington, DC: CATO Institute; 2021. Contract No.: 908