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Illinois governor and Duke Trustee signs law legalizing marijuana

<p>Illinois governor and Duke Trustee J.B. Pritzker.</p>
<p>Background: Chronicle File Photo</p>
<p>Right: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons</p>

Illinois governor and Duke Trustee J.B. Pritzker.

Background: Chronicle File Photo

Right: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After pushing to legalize marijuana during his campaign, Illinois Gov. and Duke Trustee J.B. Pritzker, Trinity ‘87, has officially made good on his promise. 

Pritzker signed a bill into law June 25 that legalized marijuana for recreational use and will expunge marijuana-related crimes from the criminal records of nearly 800,000 people. With the new law, Illinois is now the 11th state with legal recreational marijuana.  

“The war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities,” Pritzker wrote in a tweet June 25. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do.”

In November 2018, Pritzker, the second-richest politician ever, said he wanted to legalize the substance "nearly right away” after taking office in January. The law will clear hundreds of thousands of records via “an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon and individual court action,” he wrote in a tweet.

Illinois’ new law caught the attention of presidential candidate and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). 

“Thankful states like Illinois are stepping up to correct the mistakes of our past,” Harris wrote in a tweet July 1. “It’s time to do the same at the federal level.”

Pritzker has followed up on a number of his campaign promises, including signing a law that will raise Illinois’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. He also passed a new law that made abortion “a fundamental right.” 

The heir to the Hyatt fortune has a net worth of $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. He told The Chronicle in January that he has tried to be philanthropic in business. 

“[My goal is to] do good wherever I can with any resources that I had—and I think I have done that,” he said.

Pritzker hasn’t gone without controversy, though.

He paid back more than $330,000 in taxes in October 2018 after allegedly removing toilets from his mansion for tax breaks. He downplayed the situation though, telling The Chronicle that “a lot of things were being removed from that home in the process” of renovating it.

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