Illinois legalizes use of marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois’ new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation making the state the 11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs.

Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers and interest groups demanded. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana sales to redevelop impoverished communities.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill in Chicago amid a bevy of pot proponents, including the plan’s lead sponsors, Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Heather Steans, both Chicago Democrats.

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