As the sun set on Illinois Thursday, the state’s House Judiciary-Criminal Committee began discussing House Bill 1438, a bill to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The discussion lasted three hours before finally coming to a vote at 11:20 p.m., passing with a 13-6 margin. The after-hours deliberation was necessary to get the bill to the House floor Friday, the final day of the spring legislative session, and Illinois best chance at legalizing recreational marijuana by 2020.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who promised on the campaign trail to make Illinois the 11th state to legalize cannabis use and sales, is ready to sign HB 1438. But in order to win support in the Legislature, lawmakers had to water-down certain key provisions related to equity and criminal justice. And that means the fate of the bill before a full Illinois House vote is all but certain, as lawmakers confront concerns that this version doesn’t go far enough for those most impacted by Illinois’ brutal drug war.
Illinois House Lawmakers Are About to Vote to End Marijuana Prohibition
The Illinois Senate has already voted to approve HB 1438, and passage through the House is the final step before it reaches Gov. Pritzker’s desk.