January 12, 2020

Duckworth Meets With Local Leaders to Discuss Equity in Legalization of Recreational Cannabis in Illinois


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with local leaders today at Mission South Shore Marijuana Dispensary on the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois. Duckworth was joined by Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Senior Advisor to Gov. Pritzker on Cannabis Control Toi Hutchinson, Illinois State Senator Robert Peters (IL-SD-13), Chicago Ald. Susan Garza (10th Ward), Illinois Deputy Treasurer Rodrigo Garcia, Acting State Banking Director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Chasse Rehwinkel and others to discuss the importance of ensuring equity and justice is brought to communities who have been historically disproportionally affected by marijuana-related offenses, as well as what the State of Illinois is doing to achieve that goal. Duckworth also discussed her efforts to adjust federal regulatory rules to allow marijuana companies access to the banking system. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“People of color have been disproportionally arrested and incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses for decades, and I’m proud Illinois is working to make legalization of recreational cannabis equitable for all,” Duckworth said. “I’ll keep working with these local leaders to make sure equity and justice are at the forefront of this process.”

Currently, cannabis businesses operating under state laws that legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis have been mostly denied access to the banking system because banks that provide these businesses services can be prosecuted under federal law. Last year, Duckworth co-sponsored the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act to ensure that legal cannabis businesses can access banking services. Duckworth also helped introduce the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act in 2019 to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The legislation would help communities that have been disproportionally affected by our current federal marijuana laws by authorizing grants to help individuals seal or expunge marijuana possession conviction records and creating a new funding stream to make it easier for women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the marijuana industry.