Lawyers, race and money: Illinois' messy weed experiment

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CHICAGO — Illinois stood to become a model for diversifying the marijuana industry in other states when it legalized the drug last year. So far, its success is half-baked.

As the first state Legislature to legalize recreational cannabis sales after others approved it by ballot measure, Illinois crafted what it hopes will be a national template for how to atone for the war on drugs while also generating new revenue.

It’s on pace to pull in $1.3 billion in weed sales this year, roughly double what it got in 2020, and thousands of marijuana-related criminal convictions have been wiped clean. But Illinois’ effort to diversify the

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