In some ways, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois at the start of 2020 was like a light switching off: suddenly, possessing or using pot was legal. But the law did other things, too. As Beth Johnson, an attorney with the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, puts it: “The legislation was both forward-thinking as well as retroactive in addressing the past harm caused by the same activity that’s now legal under the law.” Those aspects of Illinois’ marijuana legalization law have been slower to realize.

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