Illinois governor announces plan to legalize marijuana

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CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he’s reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.

Pritzker joined fellow Democrats Saturday to announce the legislation. It would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess up to about an ounce (30 grams) of marijuana. The legislation also would automatically expunge some marijuana convictions.

Lawmakers plan to introduce the measure Monday, kicking off debate at the Legislature. Democrats hold a majority in both chambers.

Pritzker campaigned on the issue and is counting on more than $1 billion from legalizing recreational marijuana in his proposed state budget.

Ten states, including neighboring Michigan, have legalized recreational marijuana. Illinois already has approved medical cannabis.

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