Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Dec. 31, the eve of adult-use cannabis legalization in the state, that he was pardoning more than 11,000 low-level cannabis convictions.
“When Illinois’ first adult-use cannabis shops open their doors tomorrow, we must all remember that the purpose of this legislation is not to immediately make cannabis widely available or to maximize product on the shelves; that’s not the main purpose, that will come with time,” Pritzker said in his announcement. “But instead the defining purpose of legalization is to maximize equity for generations to come.”
The pardon means that convictions involving less than 30 grams of cannabis will be automatically expunged, and the 11,017 Pritzker pardoned Tuesday will receive notification via mail, the Chicago Tribune reported.
State officials estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois who could be eligible for expungement, according to the news outlet. Illinois State Police are searching criminal records to identify eligible cases and submitting them to the Prisoner Review Board, which reviews the cases and sends the names of those eligible for expungement to the governor’s office to be considered for a pardon.
While many of the cases will be automatically expunged in the next couple of years through this process, those with criminal convictions can get a copy of their record and start the process sooner, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Cases involving 30 to 500 grams of cannabis are also eligible for expungement, but the process will not be automatic; individuals must file motions to vacate the convictions, according to the news outlet.
New Mexico Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) will pre-file an adult-use cannabis legalization bill in the coming days that incorporates recommendations from the state’s governor-appointed work group, which was charged with suggesting what an adult-use program should entail.
Martinez’s legislation will establish a private adult-use cannabis industry in the state and regulate the market similar to alcohol, according to a local KRQE report.
In an effort to protect the state’s existing medical cannabis program, the legislation would remove sales tax on medical cannabis products and create subsidies for low-income patients, the news outlet reported.
Martinez participated in New Mexico’s work group alongside 21 other policy leaders from across the state, including law enforcement, medical professionals and politicians. The group submitted its recommendations for an adult-use cannabis program to elected officials in October, and focused on prioritizing the state’s medical cannabis patients and providing a large portion of adult-use proceeds to law enforcement and public health programs.
The New Mexico House passed an adult-use legalization bill last spring by a narrow margin of 36-34, but the legislation ultimately stalled in the Senate.
This year’s legislative session begins Jan. 21, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has indicated that she wants cannabis legalized this time around, according to KRQE.
Now that we're on the far side of the holiday season, the Cannabis Conference team is extending its Early Bird registration deadline (originally Dec. 27) to Jan. 10.
You don't want to miss out on this deal.
Savings at the Early Bird pricing level include: $500 off the All-Access pass, $400 off the Conference & Expo pass and $300 off the Expo Only pass.
Prices will shoot up another $100 after Jan. 10, so get your registration in now.
And while you're at the Cannabis Conference 2020 website, check out our education schedule and our list of speakers. We've been developing our education offerings with our Cannabis Conference 2020 advisory board, which includes some of the brightest minds in cannabis cultivation and retail, as well as the newly legal U.S. hemp industry.
Cannabis Conference 2020 will be our fourth annual event, and our second visit to Las Vegas. The conference happens April 21-23 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. We're looking forward to gathering business owners from across the rapidly growing cannabis industry, and we're excited to have everyone share ideas and perspectives on how best to support this fascinating marketplace.
Long lines and mix of happy and frustrated customers marked the first day of adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois. While some of those customers encountered supply shortages or point-of-sale glitches (or dispensaries that they only thought were licensed for adult-use sales), many on the ground in this newest cannabis market reported smooth sailing.
Sales began at 6 a.m. at most retail locations, and businesses made sure to greet the customers who got up early to take advantage of this historic day.
“The early bird gets the herb!” Oak Park resident Jack Fitzgerald shouted as he left Seven Point in the morning, according to the Chicago Tribune’s roundup of the day’s activities. The Chicago Sun-Times noted that some customers had started lining up outside stores as early as Tuesday night.
In stores throughout the state, the mood was often jovial—despite the frigid temperatures—and raucous cheers were a common refrain amid the day’s business.
At this point, the state has licensed 43 dispensaries to sell adult-use cannabis products. (On Jan. 1, six of those dispensaries were reportedly not ready yet, according to the Chicago Tribune.) More retail licenses are expected, and we’ve been watching the lottery process unfold in highly contentious neighborhoods in Chicago.
Among the first customers in the state was Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who purchased gummies at the Clark Street Sunnyside* location.
“We’re ecstatic for our Sunnyside* dispensaries to begin serving recreational customers on such a historic day that launches a new era of cannabis and the development of an industry that will bring greater justice, social equity and business ownership opportunities throughout the state,” Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder, said in a public statement. “With 13 million residents and 100 million annual tourists, Illinois is predicted to be one of the largest recreational cannabis markets in the United States. Cresco is uniquely positioned in the supply-constrained state, with permission for the largest cultivation footprint at 630,000 square feet and ten retail dispensaries, including three in high traffic areas in the city of Chicago.”
Across the state, Jan. 1 was hailed as an historic day. And the first day of sales followed another cannabis achievement in Illinois, when on Dec. 31 Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 cannabis convictions in the state.
“Today is historic not only for Illinois, but for the U.S. cannabis industry," Revolution Global CEO Mark de Souza said in a public statement. "The Illinois adult-use market has enormous potential to do good for the state and all Illinoisans. Today would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless individuals in government, cannabis, and community groups who saw the power and potential of the plant.”
Cannabis Business Times’ interactive legislative map is another tool to help cultivators quickly navigate state cannabis laws and find news relevant to their markets. View More