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What’s Next in Illinois?


Illinois recently became the 11th state to legalize possession of marijuana for all adults, and only the second to do so via the legislature. It is a major success for the people of Illinois – and for the cannabis law reform movement as a whole. And, as has been the case with all successful legalization measures, improvements are needed.

The major glaring problem with the legalization measure in Illinois is the lack of home growing for all adults, something that must be an integral part of any decent legalization measure. And as Kelvin McCabe, a member of the Board of Directors for IL NORML, told The Marijuana Times, home growing is something they will continue to work on for all adults.

“We also will be advocating for many other improvements…including expanded licensing (and cheaper license fees),” Kevin told us. “We are kinda waiting on the rulemaking process to begin so we can see how this bill is going to be implemented and then we will analyze it and go from there. Another big area of concern is workplace drug testing. We need to improve that in IL as well.”

One of the major keys to legalization will always be the improvements. The stigma that surrounds cannabis was built up over decades and it will take a long time to tear it all down. As long as enough people see marijuana as a dangerous substance that must be heavily restricted, there will always be holes in legalization measures, things left on the cutting room floor in the name of political expediency. 

Illinois has joined Michigan as the second Midwestern U.S. state to approve recreational legalization. For states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri, it shows that adult-use legalization can succeed in large industrial states outside of the northeast and areas out west. It shows that legalization cuts across geographical and cultural lines because people everywhere want the same thing: the power to make their own decisions about what they ingest into their bodies.

If you live in Illinois, it’s a great time to celebrate, but you must remember that things aren’t over. The improvements needed will have to go through the legislature, a legislature that has proven themselves receptive to many aspects of legalization, as has the Governor. The fight is not finished, but it has begun and it is being won by those who oppose prohibition.

If you’re on the fence about getting involved in the movement in Illinois, now is the time to jump in. Illinois legalization has fallen short of what it can be, and you can help it get there.