United States: Illinois legalizes cannabis
On 25 June 2019, Illinois became the 11th US state to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use:
- Residents of the state can possess up to 30g.
- Visitors can possess up to 15g.
- Medical cannabis patients can own and grow up to five plants.
- Cannabis is to be brought into the state taxation structure, creating a new revenue stream.
- Up to 800,000 existing cannabis convictions may be expunged from the record books.
New Zealand: cannabis referendum coming soon
New Zealand is the latest country to add the legalization of cannabis to its national to-do list. Plans are moving forward for a nationwide referendum on the subject in 2020. As detailed here, the driving forces for legalization are:
- Decriminalizing thousands of people who grow and use cannabis for medical purposes.
- Ensuring that the cannabis industry is transparent, safe and regulated.
- Creating up to NZ$240m in additional tax revenue.
As we’ve highlighted here, the ‘war on cannabis’ has had a devastating social impact. In the US cannabis convictions have disproportionately affected people of color, so Illinois’ decision to legalize cannabis and expunge previous convictions represents a big step forward in the battle for social equality in the United States.
From a macro perspective this will also reduce the costs of incarceration and prohibition, while creating tax revenues for the state, a genuine win-win. Additionally, with medical cannabis patients now able to grow their own plants, and therefore reduce costs and control their own usage, people who need to use cannabis can do so easily and in a cost-effective manner.
We look forward to governments around the world bringing forward progressive legislation that will Open Minds, Heal Bodies and Grow Communities.