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Thousands turn out for legal marijuana in Illinois — including the lieutenant governor

Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 12:09:06-05

Illinois became the 11th state to allow for the use and sale of recreational marijuana beginning January 1.

The state previously allowed medical marijuana, but a new law signed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker allows people 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of cannabis concentrate and cannabis-infused products containing no more than 500 milligrams of THC.

The same rules apply to out-of-state visitors, but they can only purchase half those amounts.

Pritzker pardoned 11,000 people with low-level marijuana convictions Tuesday. The governor suggested in his announcement that more pardons could be on the way, according to the Associated Press.

"These 11,017 misdemeanor convictions represent individuals who have carried around with them a stain on their records for possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis, a stain that has very often prevented them from obtaining housing or jobs or benefits,” Pritzker said. “Today, we lift the burden on the first 11,017 of those people.”

The state’s lieutenant governor was among the first to purchase legal weed.

"For too long, IL residents, particularly those that are black & brown, have been targeted and criminalized for #cannabis possession," Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton wrote in a tweet. "It's not just a new year, it's a new day. Thank you, @GovPritzker, for ending prohibition and building a more equitable Illinois."

According to KTVI, thousands lined up at some marijuana dispensaries and waited for hours to get their hands on legal pot on the first day of legalization. The crowds were so large some people ended up being turned away, WBBM reports.