Illinois Compiled Statutes
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410 ILCS 705/7-1
(410 ILCS 705/7-1)
(a) The General Assembly finds that the medical cannabis industry, established in 2014 through the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, has shown that additional efforts are needed to reduce barriers to ownership. Through that program, 55 licenses for dispensing organizations and 20 licenses for cultivation centers have been issued. Those licenses are held by only a small number of businesses, the ownership of which does not sufficiently meet the General Assembly's interest in business ownership that reflects the population of the State of Illinois and that demonstrates the need to reduce barriers to entry for individuals and communities most adversely impacted by the enforcement of cannabis-related laws.
(b) In the interest of establishing a legal cannabis industry that is equitable and accessible to those most adversely impacted by the enforcement of drug-related laws in this State, including cannabis-related laws, the General Assembly finds and declares that a social equity program should be established.
(c) The General Assembly also finds and declares that individuals who have been arrested or incarcerated due to drug laws suffer long-lasting negative consequences, including impacts to employment, business ownership, housing, health, and long-term financial well-being.
(d) The General Assembly also finds and declares that family members, especially children, and communities of those who have been arrested or incarcerated due to drug laws, suffer from emotional, psychological, and financial harms as a result of such arrests or incarcerations.
(e) Furthermore, the General Assembly finds and declares that certain communities have disproportionately suffered the harms of enforcement of cannabis-related laws. Those communities face greater difficulties accessing traditional banking systems and capital for establishing businesses.
(f) The General Assembly also finds that individuals who have resided in areas of high poverty suffer negative consequences, including barriers to entry in employment, business ownership, housing, health, and long-term financial well-being.
(g) The General Assembly also finds and declares that promotion of business ownership by individuals who have resided in areas of high poverty and high enforcement of cannabis-related laws furthers an equitable cannabis industry.
(h) Therefore, in the interest of remedying the harms resulting from the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis-related laws, the General Assembly finds and declares that a social equity program should offer, among other things, financial assistance and license application benefits to individuals most directly and adversely impacted by the enforcement of cannabis-related laws who are interested in starting cannabis business establishments.
(Source: P.A. 101-27, eff. 6-25-19; 101-593, eff. 12-4-19.)