This past Friday, lawmakers in Illinois approved a measure legalizing the sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21 with the House of Representatives voting 66-47 to allow possession and sales beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The Senate had approved the measure earlier in the week. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to sign the bill into law, which would make Illinois the 11th state to legalize cannabis in the US and only the second time a legislature has legalized marijuana, following Vermont in 2018, which passed a measure allowing possession and limited cultivation of cannabis. Illinois residents age 21 and over may possess up to 30 grams or about 1 ounce of flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused products. Adult visitors to the state may possess up to 15 grams of marijuana. The marijuana measure allows the governor to pardon anyone with records of convictions for possession of 30 grams or less. It eases record-clearing for possession up to one pound (500 grams).Only the 20 existing licensed medical marijuana cultivation facilities will be licensed to grow it initially. Soon, applicants, including “craft growers”, may apply for licenses to cultivate and dispense. Medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow up to five plants each at home. Sales will be taxed at 10 percent for THC levels at or less than 35 percent; 20 percent for cannabis-infused products such as edibles; and 25 percent for THC concentrations of more than 35% (…

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The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) is meeting today to discuss next steps regarding illegal shipments of alcohol into the state from out-of-state retailers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. This is follow-up from the December ILCC cease and desist letters sent to almost 1,000 liquor stores around the country.  “The illegal direct shipment of alcohol into the state of Illinois is something that the Illinois Liquor Control Commission takes very seriously,” noted a statement from the ILCC quoted in the Sun-Times. “The cease and desist letters are a continuation of enforcement efforts by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission as we look to halt the shipment of alcoholic liquor from unlicensed sources into Illinois.” The issue is not only direct shipments to consumers, but also Illinois liquor stores receiving alcohol from out-of-state. According to the Sun-Times, one store maintained a “front door register” for normal retail business and a “back door register” for sales to Illinois liquor stores. The result: lost tax revenue for the state.

According to TTB, it conducted a joint operation with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (“ILCC”) regarding alleged “pay to play” or “slotting fee” activities. Per the TTB announcement, “this is the second large-scale trade practice enforcement joint operation that TTB has conducted this year [the other being in Miami] as part of our ongoing effort to secure a level playing field nationwide for law-abiding businesses.”