Illinois Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker plans to push for the legalization of recreational marijuana early in his term, he said on Wednesday. Pritzker, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner by a margin of 15 percentage points in Tuesday’s midterm elections. During the campaign, Pritzker had argued that cannabis legalization could bring the state needed revenue and address the racial injustice prevalent in the enforcement of drug laws.

Pritzker said in a television news interview that a legal cannabis industry will bring new employment opportunities in addition to taxes for the state and local governments.

“We have an opportunity here in Illinois to bring $700 million in revenue to the state, to create jobs across the state—dispensaries, production facilities,” Pritzker said.

Legislative Action Needed

The governor-elect told the Chicago Sun-Times that he expected work on a legalization bill to begin soon.

“It’s up to the Legislature when the public hearings will be but I’ve already had conversations over the course of the campaign,” Pritzker said. “We’ll restart those conversations with the leaders in both houses, on both Republican and Democratic sides about our priorities, which will include legalization. I would guess that there will be discussion about it during this first session.”


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