On January 1 of this year, Illinois became the 11th state in the nation to legalize the recreational sale and use of marijuana. And in just that one day, sales receipts demonstrated the popular drug was in high demand (some pun intended).
More than 77,000 transactions for marijuana were conducted in the Land of Lincoln on the first day of sales, Axios reported, resulting in roughly $3.2 million of sales for the drug. Tax revenues in Chicago alone are projected to be near $3.5 million for the year, though that only takes into account four months of sales.
Among the first to stand in line to make a marijuana purchase was Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who was at a Chicago dispensary on Wednesday morning. She bought a 100 mg tin of edible gummies, according to a report from Fox News.
In addition to the legalization of the drug, Gov. JB Pritzker began the process of pardoning individuals with low-level pot crimes on their records. Earlier this week, Pritzker granted more than 11,000 such pardons, with more likely on their way in the near future.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 3, 2020
The new law in Illinois allows individuals to purchase and possess 30 grams of pot (about 1 ounce) or 500 mg of THC-based products from approved dealers. Some are praising the measure, which passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Pritzker last spring, as not only legalizing a drug many believe should not be criminal, but also getting rid of a crime that disproportionally affects people of color more than it does white people.
As the ACLU has noted, whites and blacks smoke pot at roughly the same rates, yet blacks are nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana crimes as are white people.