News Around Illinois—January 2, 2020

 
Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Catch up on news from around the state of Illinois from the Associated Press, Illinois Newsroom, and other public media sources.

Illinois Sees First Legal Sales Of Recreational Cannabis

The sale of cannabis for recreational purposes is now legal in Illinois. The change took effect with the new year, to the delight of pot fans. Many began lining up hours early at dispensaries. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that about 500 people were outside Dispensary 33 in Chicago on Wednesday morning. Illinois Newsroom reports that more than 500 people were in line at Sunnyside in Champaign before 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. WCBU reports that three dispensaries in the Peoria area were also open for business on January 1. Illinois is the 11th state to broadly allow marijuana’s use and sale for people 21 or older. Neighboring Michigan made it legal starting Dec. 1. — Associated Press, Christine Herman, and Tim Shelley

On Eve Of Legal Marijuana In Illinois, Governor Pardons 11,017 Past Convictions

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday issued pardons for more than 11,000 low-level marijuana convictions. The move came on the eve of cannabis becoming a legal, commercial product under Illinois law.The governor made the announcement at Trinity United Church in Chicago, where Senior Pastor Otis Moss III called mass incarceration the main civil rights issue of the 21st century.Pritzker said the main purpose of Illinois’ marijuana legalization is not to make cannabis widely available, but to “maximize equity,” which includes addressing past wrongs in the so-called war on drugs. — Brian Mackey, NPR Illinois

Opening Date Of Obama Presidential Center Still Uncertain

Four years after Chicago was chosen as the site of the Obama Presidential Center, it’s still unclear when construction will begin. Early predictions were that the $500 million facility could open in 2020. But the Chicago Tribune reports that the Obama Foundation has been reluctant to publicly release a new timeline. Part of the holdup is a lengthy federal review process that’s needed because of the location of a lakefront park that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s also been a lawsuit and protests over neighborhood displacement. — Associated Press

Legionnaires’ Case Identified At Quincy Veterans’ Home

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration is investigating a case of Legionnaires’ diseases at the veterans’ home in Quincy, the site of 13 deaths from the malady starting with a 2015 outbreak. The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health are reviewing the case of the resident with the flu-like illness. Officials say the resident of the home has received medical treatment and is recovering. The last case of Legionnaires’ at Quincy was in 2018. An earlier outbreak caused the deaths of 13 residents and sickened dozens more. — Associated Press

Story source: Illinois Newsroom