Responding to recently introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner had a less than enthusiastic response but said he’d be willing to study it.
“I’m not a believer that legalizing more drugs will help our society so I’m not philosophically enthusiastic about it, but I’m also open to what actually works to make life better to people,” Rauner told the “Roe Conn Show” on WGN-AM 720 on Thursday.
“I’m hearing some pretty bad stories. Now, I haven’t studied it. I think we should do a thoughtful analysis of what’s happening in these other states. I’m hearing a lot of trouble,” he said. “My friends in Colorado have told me some pretty terrible things about addiction problems and behavior problems, etc. over there in Denver.”
To sum it up, Rauner said, “I just believe we’re conducting a massive human experiment as we legalize these drugs.”
He’s relying on anecdotes from his rich Denver pals? Are you kidding me?
* Since he said we need to study the issue, perhaps he can take a few minutes to do some reading on the topic. This is from Wednesday’s edition of the Colorado Statesman…
Colorado alone has compiled several research studies demonstrating that legalization has not facilitated a spike in violent crime. During the first year of the implementation of Amendment 64, Denver experienced a 2.2 percent decrease in violent crime rates and an 8.9 percent reduction in property crime offenses, according to research conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance.
Many other reports have corroborated that data, including findings by the Colorado Department of Public Safety, the FBI Uniform Crime Report and a study conducted by a student research group from Metropolitan State University.
The Colorado Department of Public Safety report showed a 6 percent decrease in the violent crime rate statewide from 2009 to 2014.
Other jurisdictions that legalized the recreational marijuana industry have experienced similar declines in violent crime. In Washington State, violent crime rates decreased by 10 percent from 2011 to 2014. Portland, Oregon, saw crime rates drop since legalizing the recreational marijuana industry as well.
Another comprehensive study published by a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas demonstrated that legalized marijuana was not a likely indicator of crime rates and that legalizing the industry can actually reduce homicide and assault rates. Dr. Robert Morris’ study tracked crime rates across all 50 states between 1990 and 2006, when 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use.
“We found no increase in crime rates resulting from medical marijuana legalization, Morris told Science Daily. “In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault.”
Researchers have pointed to a few reasons why legalizing the marijuana industry has helped reduce violent crime rates. Marijuana-related crimes are often committed by underground cartels. Because the illegal cartels cannot access the court systems, they resort to violence when settling territorial disputes or business conflicts. As a result, legalizing recreational dispensaries can reduce violent crime rates by diminishing the prevalence and influence of these black market groups.
* He might also want to read these stories…
* Legal Marijuana’s Social Impact On Colorado
* Colorado Takes Aim at the Marijuana Black Market: A new measure that limits the number of marijuana plants a person can grow at home won approval in March from the Colorado House of Representatives. It is expected to win approval in the Senate, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has also supported tighter restrictions in the legal marijuana market.
* Ivy League Study: These Are the Top Reasons People Want Legal Marijuana
That state is showing the way. They have some problems and they’re fixing them. But crime isn’t an issue.
Sometimes I suspect that, back in the day, the local weed dealer was an AFSCME shop steward who ran over the Rauner family pet.