Simon Review Paper #60


In 2019, the Illinois House passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that legalized the recreational use of cannabis. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act became law in the state of Illinois as of January 1, 2020, making Illinois the first state to establish such a law via state legislation, as opposed to a ballot measure approved by voters. This law allows adults aged 21 and older to legally purchase cannabis for recreational purposes. This law has significant implications for social equity and for public health. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was intentionally designed to address and repair some of the inequities that the War on Drugs created. The Act also includes an emphasis on public health, with efforts toward prevention of cannabis abuse and treatment of cannabis use disorders. This paper will explore the unique context of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act after the War on Drugs, the law and its implementation, and the potential public health impact Illinois may experience because of the legalization of recreational cannabis.