Photo Credit: Dave Herholz

On June 25th, 2019, Illinois officially became the 11th state in America to legalize recreational marijuana when Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA). The bill allows adults 21 years of age and older to purchase, possess and consume cannabis products from state-licensed retail outlets and will take effect beginning January 1, 2020. Illinois still maintains its medical marijuana program and even included provisions to give existing businesses a leg-up in the new recreational market.

The state’s medical program was approved January 2014, making Illinois the twentieth state to legalize medical marijuana in the form of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. Illinois' medical marijuana legislation is still in its infancy, remaining in a pilot designation until July 2020. However, the CRTA was also included provisions for expanding Illinois’ medical cannabis program, allowing for home cultivation for medical cannabis patients beginning January 2020. Under the current medical cannabis regulations, qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions are allowed to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis or more if their physician believes it is an adequate supply. Home cultivators are allowed to keep whatever they harvest, however standard possession limits apply outside of a patient’s residency.

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