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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cannabis Act Amendments Signed by Governor

As pretty much everyone in Illinois knows, January 1, 2020 is the first day that recreational cannabis will be legal in the state. Since the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was passed on June 25, 2019, a variety of concerns have been raised by municipalities, businesses, employers, and others regarding certain provisions of the Act, resulting in legislative discussions of a "trailer bill" to address some of these issues. We reported on this a couple of weeks ago here after both houses had approved it and it was sent to the Governor for his signature. 

Last week, the Governor signed P.A. 101-0593 approving changes to the Cannabis Act. While certainly not an exhaustive list of the extensive changes to the Act, we have summarized some of the amendments that affect local governments below:

Municipal and County Taxes

As amended, the Act will now allow municipalities and counties that enact a local sales tax on cannabis dispensaries to file their ordinance or resolution with the Department of Revenue by April 1, 2020 to begin collecting taxes as early as July 1, 2020. The initial Act wouldn't have allowed tax collection until September 1, 2020.  


The amended Act clarifies that the locational restrictions placed on the advertising of cannabis business establishments near certain sensitive uses do not apply to the exterior business signs of a cannabis business establishment that display only the name of the business.

On-Premises Consumption

As amended, the Act will clarify that on-site consumption of cannabis can only take place in a licensed dispensary or a retail tobacco store. Local governments are not authorized to expand on-site consumption beyond these two types of businesses but can establish restrictions or ban on-site consumption.

Public Safety Employees

The amended Act now states that the Act does not prevent public employers from prohibiting or taking disciplinary action against law enforcement officers or firefighters for consumption, possession, sales, purchase, or delivery of cannabis while on or off duty, unless otherwise provided by local policy or collective bargaining agreement.  

Employer Drug Policies

As amended, the Act clarifies that an employer may subject an employee to "reasonable and nondiscriminatory random drug tests" and can withdraw a job offer due to a failure of a drug test.

Cannabis Paraphernalia

As amended, the Act provides that the possession and use of cannabis paraphernalia is legal in connection with lawful cannabis use.


The trailer bill also makes certain changes to the expungement provisions of the Act, requiring courts to provide certificates of disposition to individuals after automatic expungement, among other changes.


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