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It’s just a bill

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017

* But it should be a law…

State lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would end marijuana prohibition in Illinois and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed for adult use.

The Senate bill, SB 316, is sponsored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago), while the House version, HB 2353, was presented by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). Each would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults, and it would create and enforce strict health and safety regulations, such as testing and labeling requirements and restrictions on marketing.

“Marijuana prohibition is a quagmire that creates far more problems than it prevents,” Cassidy said. “Several states have adopted sensible alternatives to prohibition, and it is time for Illinois to develop its own exit strategy. Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer.”

The bills propose taxing marijuana at a rate of $50 per ounce at the wholesale level, and retail sales would be subject to the state’s standard 6.25% sales tax. Based on current usage rates and the market price of marijuana being sold for adults’ use in Colorado, the Marijuana Policy Project estimates regulated marijuana sales could generate between $349 million and $699 million per year in new revenue for Illinois.

“Right now, all the money being spent on marijuana is going into the pockets of criminals and cartels,” Steans said. “In a regulated system, the money would go into the cash registers of licensed, taxpaying businesses. It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new revenue for our state. Prohibition is a financial hole in the ground, and we should stop throwing taxpayer dollars into it.”

Eight states have enacted laws regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use. A February Quinnipiac University poll found 59% of U.S. voters think marijuana should be made legal. Polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and Gallup last October found support at 57% and 60%, respectively.

“People are fed up with laws that punish adults for using a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol,” said Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The time is right for the Illinois General Assembly to re-examine marijuana prohibition and consider the potential benefits of a thoughtfully crafted regulatory system. The sky has not fallen in the eight states that have made marijuana legal for adults. It’s time for Illinois to move past prohibition and stop missing out on the jobs and revenue other states are already getting.” [Emphasis added.]

* Press release…

To ensure that employees can observe their religious traditions without fear, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins has put forth a proposal prohibiting employers from discriminatory actions toward workers who wear religiously observant clothing or hair styles.

“In a letter to a synagogue, President George Washington once wrote of the new government he had fought to form that it ‘gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,’” said Collins, D-Chicago. “This legislation is intended to show clearly that Illinois is a state that will protect its citizens. As our Jewish community faces an unprecedented wave of threats and our Muslim community is openly antagonized by the White House, protecting the right to worship is more important now than ever.”

The legislation would specifically disallow employers from taking disciplinary measures against employees for wearing their hair or clothing in ways that are in keeping with a religiously observant lifestyle.

Senate Bill 1697 passed out of the Senate Labor Committee this week and is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate.

* Press release…

Middle-class families would be able to keep more of their hard-earned money under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, doubling the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Welch-backed bill is a key element of an economic reform agenda introduced by House Democrats.

“It’s time that we put Illinois’s middle-class first and do what is best for them and their families,” said Welch. “The policies that the governor continues to promote are not creating jobs, are not growing the economy and are not uplifting the middle class. They are being squeezed out of existence, and it is time we refocus on them versus padding the profits of big businesses through this chaos the governor has created.”

Welch is sponsoring House Bill 2475, which would double the value of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit over the course of five years, raising the value of the credit by 2 percent every year. Each 2 percent increase would put an estimated $44 million back in working families’ pockets. Additionally, the U.S. Conference of Mayors indicates that every $1 returned to taxpayers through the Earned Income Tax Credit generates between $1.50 and $2 in economic activity, helping local businesses grow.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

47 Comments
  1. - Deft Wing - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    And the Band played on …


  2. - Sick & Tired - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Please let this pass. We need the jobs. We need the revenue. We need the extra tourism. We need fewer dumb reasons to imprison people at a cost far higher than any benefits will justify.


  3. - annonymous - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Pass it from both chambers and send it to the guv pronto!


  4. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    If Rauner made this a TA item tightly bound to term limits, Dems would have a hard time justifying opposition.


  5. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    Cue unhelpful Cheech and Chong style jokes from newscasters in 3…2…1…


  6. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    do it NOW, reps and sens. stop your time-wasting, drop your excuses, and finally do the one thing that will unequivocally benefit our economy. your re-election is guaranteed if your name is on this bill. you could run on “i’m the one who legalized” until they have to carry you out of the chamber.


  7. - Horst Cabal - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    If passed, will all inmates convicted and sentenced to prison for marijuana related crimes be released and have their records expunged?


  8. - don the legend - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    Legalizing marijuana would instantly relieve maybe 50%+ of their constituents from being criminals. This includes doctors, lawyers accountants, nurses, state workers, oh and a few legislators too!


  9. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    Steans and Cassidy have earned gold stars for the day.

    While Welch means well, how are we going to pay for an increase in the state EITC? Steans and Cassidy will get us more revenue, but that will have to go to pay off the State’s unpaid bill backlog, and $12 billion and growing, that’s going to be about 25 years. Any law enforcement/prison savings will have to go to the folks licensing, grading, and collecting the new marijuana taxes.

    And all this assumes that consumer demand for marijuana is fairly inelastic. If mj revenues sag during a recession or other decline in consumer spending, the timeline gets lengthened.

    (Plus, discussion of how you erase felony convictions for conduct made legal at a future point will be a whole’nother circus.)


  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    The Tax Foundation did a pretty thorough analysis of states legalizing pot:

    https://taxfoundation.org/marijuana-taxes-lessons-colorado-washington/

    The key is to not overtax it. We have far more to gain by eliminating the black market.


  11. - Big Joe - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Pass it already. Long overdue. Expand gambling too. People are going to gamble anyway, so keep it in-state.


  12. - Saluki - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    You knew this was coming.

    Medicinal Wacky weed was a Trojan horse all along. Worse than the lottery, this will not raise as much money as estimates say, but cause more traffic accidents, and further erode public health.

    It’s amazing that smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke but some how Marijuana Smoke is politically correct as long as the state can fill some budget holes with the sale of it.

    This will pass eventually, and it will be a sad day for the State of Illinois on a multitude of levels.


  13. - sulla - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    As an economic developer, I would love the opportunity to work with a bunch of new entrepreneurs in the legal cannabis industry.

    We could fill a number of vacant storefronts locally if this measure passed. Commercial rents would increase city-wide from the new demand, helping out landlords and removing those vacant shop windows that residents constantly complain about. Our local contractors would have a field day doing all of the remodel/installation work. New business establishments would drive revenue to sign-makers, printers, advertising firms, insurance companies, law offices, accountants etc. All of that money supports local payrolls and consumer spending.

    New jobs (not a ton of them, but some) would be created by the cannabis retailers and supply chain. Law enforcement drug interdiction costs would decrease, helping out our city & county budgets. The new tax revenue would obviously help the State’s bottom line. It would reduce prison costs statewide.

    I frankly don’t see any economic downside to this. A total no-brainer.


  14. - Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    The state would also save miney on the law enforcement and prison side by legalizing marijuana.

    Auction grower licenses like casinos licenses for extra cash


  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    ===politically correct===

    Oh, please. That entire post of yours was a total stretch, but that’s the worst of the worst.

    How about we stop putting people in steel cages for smoking pot? That’s it. Forget about the revenues for a second. You are in favor of imprisoning people for smoking weed, without any real reasoning except that’s the way it’s been for decades. If anyone is clinging to empty meaningless orthodoxy here, it’s you, bub.


  16. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    amen, rich. it’s unfortunate the moral wrong of prohibition doesn’t get more attention in this debate.


  17. - Former hillrod - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Puff puff pass it.


  18. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    Heard that you can get “enhanced” gummy bears in CO. If this bill passes, I look forward to getting a lot of gummy bears to forget about our poor leadership in the State and Nation.


  19. - frisbee - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    Kudos to Cassidy and Steans, long overdue but it will still be a while before it passes becuase everyone will want a piece of the pie.

    Saluki if the carcinogens from cannabis smoke are so bad why arent there more cases of lung cancer in those who only smoke cannabis? Perhaps it has to do with the endocannabinoid system (feel free to google that BTW)


  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Also, Saluki, unless you have a magical solution to stop people from smoking pot (and there is no such thing) you’re arguing to continue sending big profits to illegal and often violent drug cartels.

    Congratulations, you’re a crime booster.


  21. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    i’d like any prohibitionist to clarify why they believe the federal government has the authority to tell you what to do with your own mind. have never gotten an answer to that question.


  22. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    An idea whose time has come. Actually,it’s been knocking on the door for a few decades. Let’s get it over and move on.


  23. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    I don’t use the stuff, and wouldn’t if it were legal- but legalize it already. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and it doesn’t for pot either. For the same reasons. Tax it, regulate it. Determine driving and age laws. Allow employers to create their own tolerance levels. Cut the cartels off.


  24. - SOIL M - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Pass it, tax it, move on to something more important. Like most issues in this state, discussion would be much easier if both sides dropped the extreme rhetoric and moved on with the bill. This will not lead to a generation of lazy mind addled pot heads. Neither will it end gang violence and empty out the prisons. It will add some revenue and development in a state that is in desperate need of both. It will remove government interference in one more area that should be a personal choice


  25. - Jocko - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    I was in Colorado and one of it’s residents (a teetotaler) couldn’t say enough good things about the financial benefits of legalized weed.

    For those who rue the day, let me know of another indulgence that’ll generate $1 billion in revenue for the state and not bankrupt or cause serious health risks to the end user.


  26. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    Was SB 420 taken? :D


  27. - Seen too Much - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    Unfortunately legalization will also give easier access to youth. It does affect a developing brain and leads to lower IQs. Do you know any addicts? It is not a pretty sight. I know students who have parents that are addicts. There will be some who say that marijuana is not addictive. Those people ignore scientific truth. There will be more driving fatalities related to marijuana, and more addicts. Legalized Marijuana will not significantly decrease “illegal sources” unless it is much cheaper. Is our rational “everybody is doing it,lets make it legal”? If so where does that end? Gambling was sold to us as a way to develop riverfront properties and the boats must cruise to gamble (except in bad weather). Then it went dockside. Since it was dockside why do you need a boat? Then we got Casinos that were not on the river-fronts, and the downtown died again. Now it is in Bars. Where does it end? What do you wish for your children and grandchildren? There are a lot of Meth users, are we going to legalize that? What addiction rate is acceptable in order to be legalized?


  28. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    We have to stop trying to push our own morals on our neighbor. ‘Sin’ or vice taxes or laws are called that because people think they need to control other people’s morals so that they line up with theirs. It’s not our place to pass laws telling everyone they can’t gamble, drink, smoke or stack up with their girlfriend. because we think it’s unseemly to do so.


  29. - cdog - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    All good on legalizing the weed. Gummies are metabolized through the liver, as compared to smoking (lungs). It’s an interesting read and stands a chance of being proven mildly therapeutic.

    Btw, weed never should have been placed on Schedule 1. (heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”)

    On Sen. Collins desire to establish religious liberties for a few, at the expense of another’s liberties, is a slippery slope. It lacks awareness of the concepts, imho.

    If you want to dress with your hands, body, and face hidden, there are most likely jobs from which you are disqualified. That’s your liberty. It’s called freedom, baby.

    (A great example is line work at a pork meat-packing plant, where the line doesn’t stop. The devoutly religious person would need to find a another employment option. This obviously won’t work for them as it is unreasonable to change the type of meat being processed, the safety rules of dress and hair, and the inability to pause the line to accommodate for multiple prayer times.


  30. - titan - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    With regard to SB 1697, the religious attire/hairstyle bill, I see the important addition of Senate amendment #1 that allows restrictions relating to workplace safety or food sanitation requirements. I don’t suppose a yarmulke or hijab would cause problems in that regard, but some other religious attire/hairstyle items might.

    Would the Bill end up requiring Hooters to allow servers in hijabs?


  31. - Daniel Plainview - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 12:58 pm:

    - smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke but some how Marijuana Smoke is politically correct -

    Are cigarettes illegal now, or are you just a little slow?


  32. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    Seen too much: amphetamines are already legal for medicinal use and prescribed under the name Adderall. if you were referring specifically to methamphetamine it’s currently Schedule 2, so slightly less prohibited than cannabis.


  33. - Signal and Noise - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 1:26 pm:

    Saluki - you know Refer Madness wasn’t a documentary, right?


  34. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Make lots of people happy, negatively affect no one, and generate lots of money and jobs?

    I fear this makes far too much sense.


  35. - Swift - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    Anyone know whether the “$349 million and $699 million per year in new revenue for Illinois” is tax revenue or revenue to sellers? If it’s tax revenue based on 6.25% (and the $50 per ounce wholesaler tax isn’t included), that would be, at a minimum, $5.5 billion in sales, which seems a bit much considering CO hit the $1 billion level last year.

    If the 349 to 699 number is retail sales, then the tax revenue is 22 and 44 million respectively. The Amendment is not up on ILGA, so I can’t tell if locals get a cut of the taxes like they do on sales tax in general, but seems like there should be more tax revenue from this.


  36. - Rufus - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    @Saluki - you have no idea (or Facts) of what you wrote.

    Go Heather Go!


  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    legalizing it does not make it easier for kids to access it. It is alot easier for high school kids to ask around school if anyone has weed than to find a 21 year old willing to buy them alcohol.


  38. - JDuc - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    Gateway drug. Mind altering.


  39. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    “Right now, all the money being spent on marijuana is going into the pockets of criminals and cartels,” Steans said. “

    Actually a lot of the money goes into the municipal and county budgets of the “real Americans” from small town Illinois. As long as pot is illegal, the Barney Fifes can test you and tow the car.

    For example, the (self)righteous Christians on the Whiteside county board have a proposed pot ordinance for under ten grams. Until you fully legalize, the waxworks on the county board will try to undermine the intent of the legislature to decriminalize.

    Meanwhile Kelly Wilhelmi and the good old boys at the Whiteside county jail kicked out Janet Sims in a snowstorm, and she croaked in the cemetery (of heart failure, not cold). Make it simple for them and legalize, the only way the small town Puritans can understand anything is with a two-by-four to the head from Springfield.


  40. - frisbee - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    Swift - those numbers are probably tax revenue that included the $50/oz excise tax. Over $1 billion in sales last year in Colorado would equate to about a $2.4 billion dollar industry in IL if we multiplied by the population difference between the two states. That size industry in sales would yield about $150 million in tax revenue not including the excise tax. $50/oz excise tax would easily make up the difference between that $150M and the quoted $349M-749M numbers. $800/lbs tax revenue would need 375,000lbs sold to get to the middle of that range. Given the size of the Chicago market alone IL can reach those tax revenue projections.


  41. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    === a thoughtfully crafted regulatory scheme ===

    Professor Keith Humphreys of Stanford writes, “the smartest legalization policy begins with the conscious rejection of two widely believed myths: 1) That marijuana use is harmless, and 2) That unrestrained corporate control of psychoactive drugs is good for society.”


  42. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 4:19 pm:

    The more States that legalize marijuana will have to force the Federal Government to seriously reconsidering the classification of marijuana. Meanwhile I may have to invest in Frito-Lay and wonder where do they make Cheetos?


  43. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 5:34 pm:

    nah the smart investment is exercise equipment. the junk food thing’s another myth. it feels better to work out when you’re high than to sit around eating chips.


  44. - Woad - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:35 pm:

    Norseman…the gummies are amazing :-D


  45. - Woad - Wednesday, Mar 22, 17 @ 11:41 pm:

    Saluki…the biggest benefit is that people can smoke pot instead of taking opiod pain medications. There is a huge epidemic in the county of people overdosing and dying as a result of pain meds like Vicoden and Oxycodone (aka hillbilly heroin) When the DEA upped the classification of opioids to a schedule II drug, it cause a massive surge in heroin deaths due to people finding that it is easier to get a hold of heroin than it is to get a legal opioid pain med prescription. I’m a disabled vet and I rely on opioids to function without just being curled up in a ball of pain all day…and sometimes they don’t work so well. I am pretty much at my upper limit as far as dosage goes and my docs won’t take it any higher, despite their decreasing effectiveness at relieving my pain. I can smoke a bowl(or eat some edibles) at night and get a great night’s sleep for a change and the next day, I am not in pain at all..all with none of the bad side effects I endure from taking Vicodin. You really need to do some research and stay away from the refer madness BS.


  46. - Nia Jazwa - Thursday, Mar 30, 17 @ 1:14 am:

    }


  47. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 6, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    Legalizing marijuana would give this state jobs,and get itself out of debt and into the 21st century


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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