Metro-East News

Illinois lawmaker introduces bill to make marijuana legal — but there’s a catch

An Illinois state senator introduced legislation Wednesday that could legalize possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, would make it legal for Illinois residents 21 years of age and older to have up to 28 grams — one ounce — of marijuana. Out-of-state residents will be able to have up to 14 grams, or a half-ounce.

Violations of the law will amount to a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in prison, up to two years of probation, and up to a $1,500 fine for each offense.

“Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who is expected to sponsor the legislation in the House, wrote in a statement obtained by WAND-17 news in Decatur.

“In a regulated system, the money would go into the cash registers of licensed, taxpaying businesses. It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new revenue for our state,” Steans told the network.