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.

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Dear friends,

This week, Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his first budget address before the General Assembly. He laid out a vision for a balanced budget and, perhaps most importantly, indicated his willingness to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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.

Below, I will share some highlights and details of the governor’s budget. You can also view the full document here.

As one of the Senate’s budget negotiators, 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.

Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Education spending

Recommended spending increases for education in the governor’s budget include:
•    $375 million for K-12 schools ($25 million more than required by the Evidence Based Funding Formula)
•    $100 million for early childhood education
•    $50 million for MAP grants
•    $10 million for AIM HIGH grants
•    $55 millino for operational support at state universities
•    $13.9 million for operational support for community colleges


Human services spending

Recommended funding for vital human service programs includes:
•    Expanding eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($30 million increase)
•    $7 million increase for Early Intervention programs
•    Supporting nearly 700 new placements for individuals with developmental disabilities ($31.3 million)
•    $107 million to support minimum wage increases for programs including addiction treatment, child care, developmental disabilities, home services and other community services
•    $103.2 million increase to Home Services Program funding in recognition of a growing caseload
•    $6 million increase in funding for new lead screening cases
•    $65 million to address rate increases for workers within the Community Care Program and other senior support services


Revenue increases


In his address, Gov. Pritzker reiterated his support for a graduated income tax in Illinois. Illinois is one of only nine states with a flat tax rate, and it is time to update our tax structure so that an undue burden does not fall on lower-income and middle-class people.

This can only be accomplished with a Constitutional amendment and a ballot referendum, however, and Illinois needs revenue in the meantime to address the bill backlog that ballooned under Governor Rauner.

To that end, Gov. Pritzker proposed the following revenue increases to generate $1.1 billion:

•    Decouple from federal tax credit for repatriated corporate income - $94 million
•    Legalize sports wagering - $212 million (license fees)
•    Legalize adult-use cannabis - $170 million (license fees)
•    7 cent plastic bag tax - $20 million
•    Phase out School Scholarship Credits - $6 million (in year one)
•    Progressive tax structure for video gaming - $89 million
•    Cap retailer’s discount to $1,000 per month - $75 million
•    Increase cigarette tax by 30 cents per pack - $55 million
•    Tax e-cigarettes under same structure as tobacco cigarettes - $10 million
•    Managed care assessment program - $390 million
Click here to view the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget’s full analysis of the budget proposal.

 

Steans Facebook Image

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.”

 

Dear friends,

On Jan. 31, the Illinois Department of Health officially began accepting patients to the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP), an innovative approach to tackling the devastating opioid crisis in our state.

The OAPP was created by the Alternatives to Opioids Act, which I cosponsored in the Senate last year. It gives patients temporary access to medical cannabis after a doctor certifies that they have a condition for which opioids might be prescribed.

To qualify for this program as a patient, you must:

•    Be an Illinois resident age 21 or older 
•    have been prescribed an opioid or have a health condition or disease for which you could be prescribed an opioid
•    obtain a certification from your physician
•    NOT have a CDL-driver's license or a school bus driver permit
•    NOT be a current participant in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

You will need the following documents to apply:

•    Government-issued ID (Current Illinois driver's license or state ID)
•    Proof of address which matches your driver's license or state ID (ie, utility bill, voter's registration card, bank statement)
•    2'x2' color passport photo
•    Application fee -$10 for each 90-day period. Only credit, pre-paid credit, or debit cards are accepted
•    Select a dispensary

After securing these documents, you will need to:

•    Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss whether medical cannabis is a treatment alternative to opioids.
•    Ask your doctor to complete an online physician certification confirming your diagnosis.*
•    Once the physician certification has been entered online, you may register for the program.
•    Register online; a $10 registration fee is required.
*Physician certifications are valid for 90-days but can be renewed.

The administrative rules were released and implemented Dec. 1. Anyone who applied on or after Dec. 1 will receive almost immediate access to the program. For individuals who applied online provisional access will be granted by the form of eRegistry card to the dispensary they selected as long as they have a valid email address on file. Individuals who applied via mail will be receiving a letter they can use as their provisional access along with another form of ID to their local dispensary for immediate access while their application is approved and sent out by the department. Those individuals that applied before Dec. 1, and have not received any correspondence from the Department of Public Health in regards to their application should reach out to my office to have the status of their application checked.

If you have any question about your application, this program or any other matters, please contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online.


Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Dear friends,

On Jan. 31, the Illinois Department of Health officially began accepting patients to the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP), an innovative approach to tackling the devastating opioid crisis in our state.

The OAPP was created by the Alternatives to Opioids Act, which I cosponsored in the Senate last year. It gives patients temporary access to medical cannabis after a doctor certifies that they have a condition for which opioids might be prescribed.

To qualify for this program as a patient, you must:

  • Be an Illinois resident age 21 or older  
  • have been prescribed an opioid or have a health condition or disease for which you could be prescribed an opioid
  • obtain a certification from your physician
  • NOT have a CDL-driver's license or a school bus driver permit
  • NOT be a current participant in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

You will need the following documents to apply:

  • Government-issued ID (Current Illinois driver's license or state ID)
  • Proof of address which matches your driver's license or state ID (ie, utility bill, voter's registration card, bank statement)
  • 2'x2' color passport photo
  • Application fee -$10 for each 90-day period. Only credit, pre-paid credit, or debit cards are accepted
  • Select a dispensary

After securing these documents, you will need to:

  • Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss whether medical cannabis is a treatment alternative to opioids.
  • Ask your doctor to complete an online physician certification confirming your diagnosis.*
  • Once the physician certification has been entered online, you may register for the program.
  • Register online; a $10 registration fee is required.

*Physician certifications are valid for 90-days but can be renewed.

The administrative rules were released and implemented Dec. 1. Anyone who applied on or after Dec. 1 will receive almost immediate access to the program. For individuals who applied online provisional access will be granted by the form of eRegistry card to the dispensary they selected as long as they have a valid email address on file. Individuals who applied via mail will be receiving a letter they can use as their provisional access along with another form of ID to their local dispensary for immediate access while their application is approved and sent out by the department. Those individuals that applied before Dec. 1, and have not received any correspondence from the Department of Public Health in regards to their application should reach out to my office to have the status of their application checked.

If you have any question about your application, this program or any other matters, please contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online.

Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

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