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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

Links to cannabis-related rules and regulations in each adult use state with an operational marketplace as of January 2021

State

Links to state statutes and rules on cannabis

Alaska

Link to statutes (AS 17.38): Download PDF

Link to regulations (3 ACC 306): Download PDF

Link to cannabis testing compliance rules: Download PDF

California

Link to the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 42: Bureau of Cannabis Regulation: Download PDF

Link to the California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Division 1: Manufactured Cannabis Safety: Download PDF

Link to the California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Food and Agriculture. Division 8: Cannabis Cultivation: Download PDF

Colorado

Link to the Code of Colorado Regulations, 212–3: Marijuana Enforcement Division—Colorado Marijuana Rules: Download PDF

Link to emergency rules: View web page

Illinois

Link to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705): View web page

Link to emergency rules: Download PDF

General link to cannabis laws and rules: View web page

Maine

Link to statutes: Title 28-B: Adult Use Marijuana: View web page

Link to regulations: 18–691 C.M.R.—Adult Use Marijuana Program: View web page

Link to all state adult use cannabis laws: View web page

Link to rulemaking activity (past and present): View web page

Massachusetts

Link to statutes M.G.L. c. 94G, Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed: View web page

Link to regulations 935 CMR 500.000: Adult Use of Marijuana: Download PDF

Link to all state cannabis laws: View web page

Michigan

Link to all state cannabis laws, statutes, rules, and regulations: View web page

Nevada

Link to Chapter 453D—Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana: View web page

Link to Title 56, Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 678A—Administration of Laws in Relation to Cannabis: View web page

Link to Title 56, Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 678B—Licensing and Control of Cannabis: View web page

Link to Title 56, Nevada Revised Statutes, Link to Chapter 678D—Adult Use of Marijuana: View web page

Link to Nevada Cannabis Compliance Regulations—NCCR 1–14: Download PDF

Oregon

Link to Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 475B—Cannabis Regulation: View web page

Link to Oregon Administrative Rules—Chapter 845, Division 25—Recreational Marijuana: View web page

Washington

Link to Washington Administrative Code (WAC)—Title 314: Liquor and Cannabis Board Rules: View web page

Link to WAC 314–55: Marijuana Licenses, Application Process, Requirements, and Reporting: View web page

Timeline of nonmedical adult use cannabis legalization, by state, as of January 2021

State

Year adult use legalization passed

Ballot measure (% support) OR legislative passage

Date retail marketplace opened

Colorado

2012

Ballot measure (55%)

January 2014

Washington

2012

Ballot measure (56%)

July 2014

Oregon

2014

Ballot measure (56%)

October 2015 (through medical dispensaries)

Alaska

2014

Ballot measure (53%)

October 2016

District of Columbia

2014

Ballot measure (65%)

No retail marketplace approved

California

2016

Ballot measure (56%)

January 2018

Maine

2016

Ballot measure (50%)

October 2020 (through medical dispensaries)

Massachusetts

2016

Ballot measure (54%)

November 2018

Nevada

2016

Ballot measure (54%)

July 2017 (through medical dispensaries)

Vermont

2018

Legislative

Expected 2022

Michigan

2018

Ballot measure (56%)

December 2019

Illinois

2019

Legislative

January 2020 (through medical dispensaries)

Arizona

2020

Ballot measure (60%)

January 2021 (through medical dispensaries)

Montana

2020

Ballot measure (57%)

Expected 2022

New Jersey

2020

Ballot measure (67%)

Expected 2022

South Dakota

2020

Ballot measure (54%)

Legalization overturned by legal challenge

New York

Mar. 31, 2021

Legislative

Dec. 29, 2022

New Mexico

Apr. 12, 2021

Legislative

Apr. 1, 2022

Virginia

Apr. 21, 2021

Legislative

*Stalled

Connecticut

Jun. 22, 2021

Legislative

Jan. 10, 2023

Rhode Island

May. 25, 2022

Legislative

Dec. 1, 2022

Missouri

Nov. 8, 2022

Ballot Measure 66%

Feb. 3, 2023

Maryland

Nov. 8, 2022

Ballot Measure 67%

Jul. 1, 2023

Delaware

Apr. 27, 2023

Legislative

Late 2024?

Minnesota

May. 30, 2023

Legislative

Early 2025?

Ohio

Nov. 7, 2023

Ballot Measure 57%

Late 2024?

Details on nonmedical adult use cannabis taxes and posession, by state, as of January 2021

State

Tax(a)

Adult use homegrow allowed?

Legal possession?

Alaska

Cultivation/wholesale tax: $50/oz for mature flower, $25/oz for immature flowers, $15/oz for trim; $1 per clone.

Yes, 6 plants/adult, 3 flowering; limit 12 plants per residence

1 oz

California

State retail excise tax: 15% of retail price (plus 7.25% general state sales tax). Cultivation/wholesale tax: $9.65/oz for flower, $2.87/oz for leaves; $1.29/oz for fresh plant material.

Yes, 6 plants/adult

1 oz (28.5g) of flower or 8g concentrate

Colorado

State retail excise tax: 15% tax on retail sales. Cultivation/wholesale tax: 15% tax on retail sales.

Yes, 6 plants/adult, 3 flowering at time; limit 12 plants per residence.

1 oz flower or equivalent (equivalence: 8 g concentrate, 800mg edibles at purchase)

Illinois

State retail excise tax: 10% for products with ≤35% THC; 20% for cannabis-infused products (edibles); 25% for products with >35% THC (concentrates). Cultivation/wholesale tax: 7% gross receipts tax on sales from cultivators to retailers.

No (but allowed for approved medical patients)

For IL residents: 30 g flower/5 g concentrate/500 mg edible. For visitors: half resident limits

Massachusetts

State retail excise tax: 10.75% of sales (plus 6.25% general state sales tax)

Yes, 6 plants/adult; limit 12 plants per residence

<1 oz on person, <5 g concentrate, <10 oz at home

Maine

State retail excise tax: 10% tax on retail sales. Cultivation/wholesale tax: mature flower: $335/lb, trim $94/lb, immature/seedlings: $1.50, seeds: $0.30/per seed

Yes, 3 flowering plants, 12 nonflowering plants and unlimited seedlings

2.5 oz, including 5 g of concentrate

Michigan

State retail excise tax: 10% tax on retail sales (plus 6% general state sales tax)

Yes, 12 plants (and up to 10 oz marijuana produced by the plants)

2.5 oz, no more than 15 g concentrate

Nevada

State retail excise tax: 10% tax on retail sales (plus 6.85% general state sales tax). Cultivation/wholesale tax: 15% of sales

Yes, 6 plants for personal use if > 25 miles from a retail marijuana store

1 oz of marijuana or 1/8th oz of concentrates. 2.5 oz for medical

Oregon

State retail excise tax: 17% tax on retail sales

Yes, 4 plants per residence

1 oz flower in public, 8 oz at home; 16 oz solid product, 72 oz liquid product; 16 oz concentrates, 1 oz extract

Washington

State retail excise tax: 37% tax on retail sales (plus 6.5% general state sales tax; qualifying medical patients can be exempt)

No (but allowed for approved medical patients)

1 oz usable, 7 g concentrate, 16 oz solid edible, and 72 oz beverage or topical

(a) Cannabis may also be subject to local excise taxes and general local sales taxes that are not included here.

Adult use cannabis product restrictions and regulations, by state, as of January 2020

State

Prohibitions on types of cannabis products

THC serving sizes in edibles?

THC concentration caps?

Restrictions on flavors in vape cartridges?

Restrictions on other excipients and diluents in vape cartridges?

Required product preapproval?

Alaska

None

5 mg/serving; 50 mg/package

None

None

None

None

California

Shelf-stable edibles only

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

None

None (but additives for manufactured cannabis products must be on the FDA GRAS list (a))

None

Colorado

None, However, specific approval process for audited products

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

None

Banned use of Vitamin E acetate, polyethylene glycol, and MCT oil.
Additives for metered dose inhalers or vaporizers must be on FDA (or equivalent international agency) inactive ingredient list for inhalation. (a)

Required preapproval for audited products, which include metered-dose inhalers and suppositories.

Illinois

None

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

None

None

None

Massachusetts

None

5 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

None

None

Optional preapproval for specific labeling products (but required testing for Vitamin E acetate)

Maine

None

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

None

Additives may not be “toxic or harmful”

None

Michigan

Shelf-stable edibles only

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

Botanical terpenes that are chemically identical to terpenes found in cannabis sativa L. are allowed.

All other inactive ingredients must be approved by FDA for the intended use. Banned use of target analytes, which includes Vitamin E acetate

None

Nevada

None

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

All ingredients must be approved. Total terpenes must be <10% of product.

Banned use of Vitamin E acetate and polyethylene glycol. All ingredients must be approved and must be on the FDA inactive ingredient list. (a)

Required preapproval for ingredients, menu and ingredient changes, packaging.

Oregon

None

5 mg/serving; 50 mg/package

None

Banned 2 specific terpenes: Squalene, squalane

Banned use of Vitamin E acetate, polyethylene glycol, MCT oil, and dimethylsulfoxide

Required preapproval for cannabis packaging and labeling

Washington

Shelf-stable edibles only

10 mg/serving; 100 mg/package

None

Vapor products can have a characterizing flavor if it is derived from botanical terpenes identical to those naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. Synthetic terpenes are not allowed.

Banned use of Vitamin E acetate

Required preapproval for edibles only

(a) FDA Inactive Ingredient List presents US Food and Drug Administration Inactive Ingredient Database: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/iig/index.Cfm. FDA GRAS presents US Food and Drug Administration Generally Recognized as Safe List (for food and food additives): https://www.fda.gov/food/food-ingredients-packaging/generally-recognized-safe-gras.

Health warning label requirements for adult use cannabis products, by state, as of January 2020

State

Keep away from children

Pregnancy /
breast feeding

Delayed intoxication(a)

Driving /
machinery /
impairing

Addictive /
dependence risk

General health risks

Unlawful outside of state

Smoking is hazardous(b)

AK

X

X

CA

X

X

X(a)

X

X

CO

X

X

X(a)

X

X

IL

X(a)

X(a)

X(a)

X

X

X

MA

X

X

X(a)

X

X

ME

X(a)

X(a)

X(a)

X

X

MI

X

X

X

X

NV

X

X

X

X

OR

X

X

WA

X

X

X(a)

X

X

X

(a) For manufactured cannabis products or cannabis-infused products only.

(b) For combusted products only.

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