less FILE – In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants are a few weeks away from harvest in the “Flower Room” at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Two Illinois state … more Photo: Seth Perlman, AP Illinois considers legalizing marijuana for a fiscal boost 1/3 Back to Gallery SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Marijuana advocates are trying to lay the groundwork for Illinois to become the first state in the Midwest and the ninth nationwide to legalize recreational pot, arguing the move will help solve the state’s notorious budget crisis. Two Illinois state lawmakers introduced legislation last week that would allow residents 21 and older to possess, grow or buy up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and license businesses to sell marijuana products Medical marijuana subject to regulation. They say it would help fill Illinois’ multibillion-dollar budget hole with $350 to $700 million in new tax revenue. A national advocacy group, the Marijuana Policy Project, based the estimate on the proposal’s $50-per-ounce wholesale tax, Illinois’ standard sales tax, federal marijuana consumption data and recreational pot prices in Colorado. The proposal earmarks 50 percent of wholesale revenues for the state’s general fund and divides the remaining half 30/20 between education and public health. Every state to legalize pot to date has done so by voter ballot initiative, according to Chris Lindsey , a legislative analyst with the project.