The Majority Report 05/13/19 - Lawmakers introduce plan to legalize adult-use cannabis


Steans proposal would legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois

Sen. Heather Steans

State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation last week that would make it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and possess cannabis in Illinois.

Under the proposal, Illinois residents would be able to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product. The bill also allows for adults 21 and older to grow up to five cannabis plants in their home, providing certain conditions are met.

The legislation also includes significant provisions to address the disproportionate harm prohibition caused in minority communities. One-fifth of revenue from taxes and licenses will go to the Restoring Our Communities program, which will invest in communities that have suffered the most because of discriminatory drug policies. Continue reading.



Health advocates, Senate president back tobacco tax increase

Senate President John J. Cullerton

Health advocates from across the state joined Senate President John Cullerton in Springfield to announce support for an increase in the state tax on tobacco products.

President Cullerton’s proposal would raise Illinois’ cigarette tax by $1 per pack and raise taxes on other tobacco products – including cigars and smokeless tobacco – to 64 percent of the wholesale price.

Increasing the state tax on tobacco products is expected to prevent nearly 29,000 Illinois minors under the age of 18 from beginning to smoke, as well as assist more than 48,000 current adult smokers in dropping the habit. Continue reading.




Good economic news doesn’t let Illinois off financial hook

Sens. Don Harmon and Toi Hutchinson

A surprise uptick in the state’s economy is a positive step forward but two Democratic senators cautioned that it hardly solves all of Illinois’ financial problems and warned colleagues not to be distracted from the tough work ahead.

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) want to keep the pressure on colleagues to approve a plan to let voters decide if the state’s nearly 50-year-old tax system should be dumped in favor of a system fairer to working families.

The current system has one rate for minimum wage workers and millionaires. The proposed system imposes higher rates on the richest in Illinois. As proposed, 97 percent of Illinois taxpayers would see no increase or a reduction.

Without major structural changes to the tax system, Illinois likely could not school funding goals. And higher education would go back on the budget chopping block after being decimated in recent years. Continue reading.


Bennett: Illinois has a toxic coal ash problem

Sen. Scott Bennett

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation last week to address the issue of severe groundwater contamination at Illinois coal ash dumpsites.

Recently, several state environmental groups found unsafe levels of toxic pollutants at 22 of Illinois’ coal ash storage sites in the last year.

Senate Bill 9, the Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, would direct owners and operators of coal-ash impoundments to remove the coal ash and dispose of if it in a safe manner. It would largely require the state to adopt federally enforceable safeguards on storage, care and closure of “surface impoundments,” large ponds where coal ash is disposed. Continue reading.





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