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A long-awaited plan to legalize recreational marijuana use in Illinois has received a Senate committee endorsement.

Adults 21 and older could legally buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries and could possess up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, under the plan the Executive Committee approved 13-3 on May 29, 2019.

A floor vote could come as early as May 30, 2019. Approval would send it to the House. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn May 31.

Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans introduced a bill in the Illinois Senate to legalize adult-use marijuana. After making some concessions for Republican and law enforcement support, the Senate's Executive Committee voted 13-3 on May 29, 2019, to advance the bill. A floor vote in the Capitol in Springfield could come as early as May 30, 2019. (Associated Press file photo/Seth Perlman)

Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans has garnered some Republican support in her quest for Illinois to join 10 other states in allowing adult use. She appeased law enforcement by changing the legislation, HB 1438, to limit homegrown marijuana to qualified medical marijuana patients. And she tightened a provision that allows people with past convictions of possession of 30 grams, or less than 1 ounce, to 1 pound, or 454 grams, to get those records expunged.


The Illinois Senate has approved legalized recreational marijuana use.

Restrictions on home cultivation and a tightened process for clearing past pot convictions helped move the plan to passage. The Democratic-led chamber approved it 38-17 the evening of May 29, 2019.

The measure would allow residents 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries. Possession of up to 1 ounce would be allowed for residents. Non-residents could possess 15 grams.

Sen. Steans originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their homes. Steans' final version allows only the 65,000 Illinois patients qualified for the medical-cannabis law to grow their own.

Those convicted in the past of possession of 30 grams or less could have their records expunged. Steans tightened provisions for clearing convictions of 30 to 500 grams which Republicans requested. The Democratic-controlled House must approve the plan before the scheduled May 31 adjournment. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on legalizing recreational use.

Feature image: Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash

Illinois lawmakers in the Capitol in Springfield are contemplating the future of adult-use marijuana this session.