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Marijuana Legalization Policy Must Lead with Social Justice
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Marijuana Legalization Policy Must Lead with Social Justice

Maritza Perez underlines the importance of applying a social justice lens to any state-level effort to legalize marijuana.

As marijuana legalization becomes a hot-button issue in state legislatures across the country, one state stands out for its focus on both forward-looking policy and past injustices. Illinois is poised to become the eleventh state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use after its House approved a bill in May that had been passed by the Senate two days before. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue, signed the bill yesterday. While a handful of other states have already approved similar measures, Illinois is unique in that its policy was codified in the state legislature, rather than through referendum, but more importantly, Illinois’ law is distinct in that it prioritized social justice.

States have looked to marijuana legalization as a way to fortify shaky state budgets by generating additional revenue through marijuana sales. While Illinois is hoping to use some of its recreational marijuana revenue for this purpose, this bill will also create a dedicated funding stream from marijuana revenue for a slate of equity programs.

The above excerpt was originally published in RealClearPolicy. Click here to view the full article.

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Maritza Perez

Senior Policy Analyst