"Marijuana prohibition has lasted 80 years", Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney of New Haven.
Some residents seem to be backing this proposed legislation.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Heather Steans, who introduced the senate bill, says instead of the money spent on marijuana going into the pockets of criminals, in a regulated system it would go into the cash registers of licensed, taxpaying businesses.
Both bills call for taxing marijuana at $50 per ounce, wholesale level, plus the standard IL sales tax rate.
Based on sales of recreational marijuana in Colorado, the Marijuana Policy Project, a national advocacy group, estimates sales in IL could generate between about $350 million and $700 million per year in IL.
Asked if Gov. Bruce Rauner would consider signing either piece of legislation, spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said the two bills were under review.
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The committee held a workshop on Wednesday as it began to consider five bills to implement Amendment 2. Sen.
"The tax revenue comes right away", Pacula said.
As with any new industry, marijuana can be regulated, but there are so many variables, such as what pesticides should be allowed, Pacula said, so there should be provisions for new laws to expire or be changed along the way. Retail sales would be subject to the standard 6.25 percent state sales tax. The estimated revenue for IL would be about a half-billion dollars a year. Penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.
He cited a rise in emergency room visits for medical marijuana ingestion among children in Colorado, and studies showing the drug's harmful effects on developing brains.
Legalizing marijuana could be just the moneymaker the state needs, the lawmakers say: Eight states have now enacted laws regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use, and the budget benefits have been apparent in some of those parts of the country. "It's a realistic approach".