Illinois joins the 21st century, legalizes recreational marijuana

[This article was written by Thomas Madison and originally appeared at  It has been reprinted with permission.]

Here’s the wonderful thing about marijuana:  You don’t have to condone or enjoy the effects of smoking it to understand its undeniable value to America.

We are a nation whose agricultural prowess is unmatched, the world over.  Combine that with our fortuitously lengthy growing season, and American farmers have a leg up on literally all fo the competition.

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Now, imagine if we let these acutely talented farmers grow cannabis…

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From a logistical standpoint, America is still fairly well ahead of the curve on marijuana legalization, with Canada and Mexico having just edged us out so far.  But, given the climatic conditions that these two nations face, it stands to reason that a national de-prohibition of marijuana would allow American agriculturalists to create a product that will be the envy of the world – whose legalization will not be far behind ours.

As the times slowly shift, we now have an eleventh state willing to allow citizens to recreationally smoke the cash crop.

Illinois lawmakers voted to legalize recreational marijuana, becoming the 11th U.S. state to do so and bolstering Governor J.B. Pritzker’s efforts to shore up the finances of the cash-strapped state.

The House of Representatives Friday passed the measure that allows the purchase and possession of cannabis by those who are 21 and older starting in 2020. The Senate approved the bill on Wednesday. Pritzker, who took office in January, had made legalization a key platform in his campaign and said soon after the legislation passed that he will sign it. The billionaire Democrat’s budget proposal for the year that starts July 1 included an estimated $170 million from the sale of producer licenses.

Illinois joins a growing movement to end the prohibition of the drug: ten other states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot in the past seven years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois’s move follows Michigan, potentially creating a hub in the Midwest after efforts to legalize in New Jersey and New York stalledearlier this year

As the medical benefits of cannabis continue to find their way into the mainstream, we can only expect that the international market for marijuana will grow.

If we can pass some common sense legislation in the US, we may even be able to cash in on the trend.

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