Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois

( AP)- Illinois is the 11th state to allow marijuana’s use and sale, shrinking early states’ market advantage and ability to draw tourists.

The start of legal sales in Michigan on Dec. 1 and in Illinois on Jan. 1 brings that same climate to the Midwest, where some neighboring states allow limited marijuana use for medical purposes. But none other has moved to permit recreational use.

“It is important for residents of Ohio and non-residents traveling through the state to understand possession of marijuana remains a criminal violation in Ohio, even if it is purchased legally in another state which permits recreational use,” said Staff Lt. Craig Cvetan, public affairs commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Illinois marijuana companies said they have trained employees to remind non-residents that their products cannot legally be transported across state lines and can only be consumed in private residences or hotels that permit it. Cities can decide to allow marijuana consumption at tobacco shops or dispensaries, but none will have rules in place by January, said Pamela Althoff, executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois.

“If you want to enter into Illinois and participate in consuming cannabis, you need to be responsible and you need to know the law,” she said. “Just like alcohol, this should not be something you plan to consume and then get back in the car.”

Nonresidents can purchase less marijuana than Illinois residents under the state’s new law, and law enforcement in surrounding states have announced plans to strictly enforce their standing restriction on marijuana. Michigan’s single-transaction limit is the same for residents and nonresidents.

Pamela Althoff, executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois explained “If you want to enter into Illinois and participate in consuming cannabis, you need to be responsible and you need to know the law,” she said. “Just like alcohol, this should not be something you plan to consume and then get back in the car.”

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(This story was originally published on January 1, 2020)

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