UPDATE 3/25/14: Placed on 2nd reading in the House. Follow the bill’s journey here.
A growing majority of Americans support the idea of reducing or eliminating the criminal penalties for marijuana. The reasons for this growing support include the racial disparity in marijuana enforcement, the growing understanding that marijuana is not more harmful than legal substances like alcohol and nicotine, and the incredible cost of enforcing these outmoded laws. A 2013 ACLU National study indicated that it costs up to $250 million each year in Illinois to enforce our outmoded marijuana laws. Illinois legislators are considering proposals to address this situation.
House Bill 4299 and House Bill 5708 would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana to a small fine.
House Bill 5411 mandates a study of the costs, benefits and advantages of legalizing small amounts of marijuana in Illinois, including the benefits of regulating and taxing the sale of small quantities of marijuana.