Trailer Bill Passed Clarifying Public Marijuana Use

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 15, 2019 at 3:50pm

The picture of what legalized recreational marijuana use will look like became a little less fuzzy this week as the General Assembly passed a trailer bill this week that clarifies allowable public use.

According to Capitol News, Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored both the original legalization bill and the follow-up Senate Bill 1557 in the Senate, made clear that public consumption of cannabis will be allowed only at locations that have no food and drink.

“No restaurants, no bars, it can only be in a dispensary or retail tobacco store,” she said.

Those facilities will be required to seek waivers from the Smoke Free Illinois Act from their local governments.

The bill also more clearly defined policies for employers, legislators and municipalities.

Steans said it strengthens and clarifies language that would allow employers to maintain zero-tolerance policies, and moves up the earliest date municipalities and county governments can begin collecting taxes from marijuana sales from September to July.

The bill also clarifies a “revolving door” provision of the law by prohibiting future members of the General Assembly and their families from having a direct financial ownership interest in a cannabis business until two years after that lawmaker leaves public office.

Steans said the language was added to address Republican concerns and adds the ethics language to conform with a two-year revolving door prohibition on members and family having ownership interest that currently exist under gaming law.

The bill also provides that marijuana-related paraphernalia would no longer be illegal in Illinois, and cleans up language in the portion of the bill that expunges criminal records for people who have standalone marijuana convictions on their records