News flash to anyone who still thinks that marijuana legalization bills are doomed: Illinois just proved you wrong.
Governor J.B. Pritzker — a billionaire Democrat who ran on legalization — is about to sign a bill ending marijuana prohibition in his state. This makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. (The 12th if you count Washington, D.C.)
Whether or not you live in Illinois, this is a big deal — for several reasons:
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1. Marijuana legalization made it through the state legislature.
Previously, only the much-smaller state of Vermont was able to legalize this way, versus a ballot referendum. This has to be encouraging to pro-legalization politicians in other states… and in Congress. (It’s yet another reason why I expect full federal legalization sooner than you think.)
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2. Now, almost a third of Americans will live in a state where adults can purchase recreational marijuana.
Illinois is the 6th biggest U.S. state by population. And, with nearly 13 million people, Illinois will be second only to California on the legal-weed roster.
3. Illinois will bring a LOT to the table for the cannabis industry.
$1.6 billion a year in expected sales, according to Chicago Business.And that’s just from recreational use. When you factor in medical marijuana – a market that’s already