foliage 1157792 rSPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers sponsoring legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois released a study today showing that demand is likely to far exceed what the state’s existing licensed growers can supply.

The study, commissioned by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, found that demand could rise as high as 550,000 pounds of cannabis per year, highlighting the need for Illinois to expand its existing medical cannabis market to both meet demand and to diversify, allowing for the participation of more minority business owners.

“For generations, government policy of mass incarceration increased racial disparities by locking up thousands of individuals for marijuana use or possession,” said State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), the legislation’s chief co-sponsor in the Senate. “Now, as we are discussing legalization, it is of the utmost importance that we learn from these mistakes and acknowledge the lingering effects these policies continue to have in neighborhoods across this state. No conversation about legalization can happen absent that conversation.”

The study, performed by the consulting firm Freedman & Koski, examined the current adult-use market in Illinois and concluded that the existing industry could only supply between 35-54 percent of its demand.

“We’re not just trying to add diversity because it looks good. It’s not just diversity for diversity’s sake. It’s for equity’s sake; equity includes economics, it includes criminal justice,” said State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, who is the chief co-sponsor of the legislation in the House. “We’re talking about specific communities that need to be made whole. When this is all normal and nice and people are making money, we will not have succeeded if black people and other people of color are shut out.”

A clearer picture of demand also provides a better estimate of revenue; based on the study’s results, Illinois could expect approximately between $440,000 and $670,000 annually, not including the excise tax imposed on cannabis cultivators.

“While we should not expect cannabis sales to be a one-stop solution to Illinois’ financial woes, it is encouraging to see evidence that we are on the brink of establishing a thriving, robust industry to meet the demands of many Illinoisans who have until now been turning to the criminal market,” said Steans, the legislation’s Senate sponsor. “Prohibition does not work, and legalizing adult-use cannabis will bring those sales into the light and meet an obvious demand among the people of our state.”

The study cautions that initial regulatory costs will keep legal prices above illicit market prices, leading some consumers to continue making illegal purchases. Within the first few years, however, initial regulatory costs will decrease; economies of scale will push prices down; and the regulated market will capture or displace the criminal market, according to the report

“It is important that we work together to establish an adult use cannabis market that works for everyone,” said State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the legislation’s House sponsor. “We’re contemplating additional license categories such as craft cultivation, transportation and processing to ensure that everyone is at the table. These will create space for more innovation and entrepreneurship in the industry, but more importantly, provide opportunity for more diversity in an industry with a pressing need for it.”

The study can be viewed here: Illinois_WP_DemSnap_022419.pdf.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address:  

“Having the governor propose a balanced budget is a positive step toward restoring stability to our state and ensuring long-term functionality within our government.  Illinois continues to face structural budget challenges and I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker is addressing them head on.

“I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate over the next few months to develop a budget that significantly moves Illinois toward a solution that achieves financial certainty and builds trust that Illinois is back on the right track.”


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after the Senate voted to approve legislation that would raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 an hour by 2025.

“Raising the minimum wage in Illinois is a long overdue step that will help restore dignity to working families who are currently struggling to make ends meet, as wages are failing to keep up with the cost of living.

“Additionally, the current, insufficient minimum wage disproportionately impacts groups like women, minorities and senior citizens. Raising the minimum wage is an important component in closing the wage gap.”

Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate 39-18 and now heads to the House for consideration.

minimum wage

02062019CW0581rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation yesterday that will crack down on corporations shifting their profits to offshore tax havens.

Her measure would convert Illinois’ corporate tax system from mandatory “water’s edge” combined reporting that includes only companies with more than 20 percent of their business activity in the United States to a default worldwide combined reporting requirement.

Steans said at a press conference today that her legislation will provide much-needed revenue for Illinois.

“We want a fair income tax. That’s going to take time, but we need revenue for our state now,” Steans said. “This is one part of a solution, but it’s a critical one.”

Under current law, businesses are able to shift profits to related companies in other countries with low or no tax requirements in order to decrease their tax liability.

Steans’ legislation allows businesses to continue using the current reporting requirements but eliminates their ability to deduct 100 percent of their dividends from foreign subsidiaries. They will also have to include in their report a list of subsidiaries doing business in a specific list of low- or no-tax countries.

Senate Bill 1115 was introduced on Tuesday and has been assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee.

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