Illinois Cannabis Social Equity Issues

Cannabis is the trending word in the present age. The ties go way back. The ancient humans also had a way to consume cannabis as a leisure product. It was equal to gold and had many wars which did revolve around cannabis. The modern century saw a drastic shift. Cannabis was not just a way of leisure but a way of life.

Studies suggest that the extracts in cannabis have additional medicinal benefits. It has increased the demand for cannabis products. Research by Statista shows that the market was worth more than 18 billion in 2020. Specialists suggest that the market might triple after the completion of the present decade.

 

The cannabis industry is large and is well-established in the United States of America. The unique selling point is the versatility it offers. The CBDfx products in the wide range cater to various sections among the consumers. The cannabis industry equally appeals to growing adults and senior citizens. The popularity is good for business but may lead to bad practices in distribution and consumption.

For the same reasons, many states prefer to have laws around cannabis. The state of Illinois is making an effort towards the same with its cannabis bill.

 

Why Is it Important?

The growing popularity of cannabis makes the industry more vulnerable to malpractices. They can creep in the various steps of the process, including production, distribution, and selling. The criminal history suggests that many vendors were either decreasing the quality of cannabis or selling at irregular prices. Some cases involved selective distribution to the consumers.

Many vendors demand more money and serve rather than a first-come, first-serve basis. To introduce social equality in these processes, Illinois introduced a new set of rules which were a part of the cannabis bill. They aim to ensure equality irrespective of gender, financial status, and other parameters.

 

What is Working Well?

The recent cannabis bill aims to legalize the possession of cannabis in all adults who are eligible for the same. In a vendor-dominant market, it gives the consumers the ability to tilt things in their favor. The bill also contains a clause for aggressive licensing of cannabis vendors, which will help them expand their distribution networks. The clauses are the collective working of many teams lead by Sen. Heather Stans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy.

They aim to give more control to the general population by allowing them to grow their cannabis. Another clause is to expunge the criminal offenses linking to cannabis and other products. The social equity clause in the bill gives a relief to the businesses which had their businesses directly affected by the cannabis wars. The provision is to provide those businesses with additional monetary points and also allocate them with government resources.

 

What Went Wrong?

The bill aims to decrease the strict prohibitory laws around cannabis but might result in removing them altogether. The clause of expungements has several controversies around it. It is there to remove any legal proceedings against the ones having less than 30 grams of cannabis. The process will be automatic. As for the ones who had more than 30 grams, a petition system will come into place. The upper limit will be 500 grams.

 

The criticism comes from the sheer number of cases which can be more than 700,000 in numbers. Critics believe that the expunge clause might set many of the guilty ones free without any consequences.

 

Another criticism is the provision of allowing homeowners to produce their cannabis. Many specialists have warned the government on the same, as they question the quality of the product. The decline in quality and extraction process can lead to severe complications when it comes to cannabis. Many complain of the lack of know-how in the general population.

 

Potential Improvements in the bill

The bill was taken into account in the senate on the 28th of May. Since then, there have been many suggestions around the cannabis bill to improve the same. Some of them are-

  • Many specialists suggest teaching the various techniques related to cannabis cultivation to the general population. The extraction and cultivation techniques can help cannabis growers to reap good cannabis domestically.
  • Another suggestion is to make the process of expungement of criminal proceedings more strict. The automatic process needs to have more manual checks and balances.
  • The process of licensing businesses needs to be smoother. The current process has many bureaucratic levels, which increases the time taken. The method needs to be more precise and faster to get more and more cannabis businesses licensed.
  • The tax limit of the present has a 20% tax on CBD products. It is because of the high THC levels inside the CBD-based products. Several business chains suggest decreasing the tax on these products, as CBD-based products form a vast share of the cannabis market.

 

CONCLUSION

The cannabis market is still rising, and the growth is doubling every five years. It is essential to make it more accessible to other consumers. It will open up more potential opportunities for new businesses making. The key will be to make the entry of the new business firms easier into the industry. The cannabis bill in Illinois aims to do that exactly.

Business owners across the state have welcomed the cannabis bill. There is still some room for improvement, and the state department is working on the same.

 

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