Illinois became the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes for adults on New Year’s Day.
Dispensaries started selling weed at 6 a.m., and hundreds of people lined up before sunrise at the chance to purchase it, including Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, according to CNN.
Stratton went to Sunnyside Dispensary and purchased a 100-milligram container of Mindy’s Edibles Glazed Clementine Orange Gummies, according to a statement released by Joe Caltabiano, the co-founder, and president of Cresco Labs reported CNN. In the statement, Caltabiano added that each gummy is 5 milligrams, a “very popular microdose for beginning edible consumers.”
After her purchase, Stratton took to Twitter to thank Gov. J. B. Pritzker for granting more than 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana offenses before the law went into effect.
“For too long, IL residents, particularly those that are black & brown, have been targeted and criminalized for #cannabis possession,” Stratton tweeted. She said Jan. 1 marked “a new day” and she thanked Pritzker for “ending prohibition and building a more equitable Illinois.”
This is just the beginning, but we are headed in the right direction. #testorativejustice
— Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton (@LtGovStratton) January 1, 2020
In pardoning inmates with the marijuana offenses, Pritzker said the war on marijuana had unfairly resulted in a disproportionate number of Black and Latino incarcerations.
“The war on cannabis has destroyed families. It has filled jails and prisons with nonviolent offenders. It has disproportionately affected black and brown communities,” Pritzker said at a press conference Tuesday, according to CNN.
As a result of Illinois’ new law, residents who are 21 and older can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, five grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of edible THC, reported The Hill. Visitors to the state can possess half these amounts.
One city is taking that notion of restorative justice a step further. In Evanston, Il., Alderman Robin Rue Simmons has worked to pass a resolution to create a reparations fund for Black residents off of the revenue generated from the sale of cannabis in the suburb.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the reparations fund is the first of its kind in the country, and with recreational adult use of marijuana becoming legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, Evanston is expecting to put away 100 percent of the tax revenue from marijuana sales into the fund. The city hoped to cap the account at $10 million to help Black residents stay in the city, provide job training among other benefits.
So far, 43 marijuana dispensaries have received the go-ahead from the state to sell the cannabis products.
In addition to Illinois, recreational adult use of marijuana is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont. More than 30 states allow marijuana to be sold for medical purposes.