Illinois legalizes cannabis use: What it means for students

No one rang in the new year quite like Illinois did. On Jan. 1, 2020, the midwestern state legalized the recreational use and purchase of marijuana, making nearly $3.2 million in sales its first day.

As the 11th state to pass this law, it seems it won’t be long until marijuana is legalized on a national level. Senator Bernie Sanders made a bold pledge to legalize marijuana in all 50 states if he wins the presidential election.

“On my first day in office, through executive order, we will legalize marijuana in every state in this country,” Sanders said at a rally in Cedar Rapids.

After a 66 percent vote in favor from registered voters last year, the new Illinois law allows residents of ages 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis. Residents can also carry five grams of cannabis concentrate and half a gram of cannabis-infused products. Non-residents are allowed to carry half of those amounts.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that any immigrants who are not citizens are better off staying clear from marijuana. The sale or possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal immigration law, according to WBEZ.

Despite having lost more residents than any other state this past decade (by an estimated 51,250 people, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau), Illinois could expect a large economical impact with this move.

Not only that, Governor J.B. Pritzker already pardoned 11,000 low-level marijuana convictions on Dec. 31. About 34,000 records are eligible for pardon.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker said “clearing the misdemeanor offenses from individuals’ records would make it easier for them to get jobs, housing and financial aid for college.”

The legalization of marijuana has caused a ripple of excitement among many frequent users, some being students. College students are widely known for being frequent consumers of marijuana.

Students must not get too excited though, most college campuses may still not permit the use of recreational marijuana due to the possibility of losing federal funding for violating federal laws regarding marijuana.

JJC will not be allowing marijuana use or possession on campus.