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Kennedy dodges marijuana questions

Wednesday, Jun 7, 2017

* Chris Kennedy was on WBEZ this morning. This exchange begins around the 20:25 mark

WBEZ: Certainly our finances here in Illinois are a huge issue and there have been a lot of discussions about ways to bring in some more money. One of them is legalizing marijuana, to do what perhaps Colorado has been able to do. Where do you stand on legalizing pot?

KENNEDY: I wouldn’t legalize pot as simply a way to balance our budget. I mean, we’re not a failed state. Gov. Quinn, with a slightly higher income tax, was able to balance the budget, make payments that are currently due under the pension program and pay down outstanding payables. And if… Gov. Quinn could do that, Gov. Rauner ought to be able to do it as well. It’s not beyond our grasp to balance the budget on the economy that we have in our state, but Gov. Rauner’s got such a stranglehold by not allowing us to have a budget that he’s repelling the very economic development activities that should be naturally occurring in our state.

WBEZ: So if not using legalization of pot for those purposes, would you still be supportive of legalizing marijuana just in general?

KENNEDY: I’d say this: I’m a big believer in science and the medical profession. I would take my cues from them. I do think we should understand what the long-term outcomes are in places like Colorado before we embrace, say … embrace massive change like legalization of marijuana. But if the studies indicate that we have no worse outcome, then I would follow the science on that. But, you know, we haven’t figured out what to do with the massive opioid epidemic that’s hollowing out our communities, that’s destroying the lives of young people and for which we have no clear answer. There’s no protocol. Every town doesn’t handle this the same way. Every family doesn’t handle it the same way. We have very few beds in Illinois to deal with the opioid crisis or a methodology to put people on the path to recovery, and I think before we introduce yet another drug into the lives of our young people and, I guess the full population as well, we ought to understand what we’re getting ourselves into.

Lots of words.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mike Cirrincione - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Legalize marijuana.

  2. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===Where do you stand on legalizing pot?===

    “I’m against it” would’ve sufficed.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    “I don’t know if marijuana is the answer, be it for taxs or just legalizing it beyond its taxing possibilities. I need to know more, especially from Colorado’s example.”

    Same evasive answer. Much fewer words. Looks more honest to being undecided

    Less… is always more.

  4. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    I wouldn’t accuse him of “dodging” the question.

    I’d say he used lots of words to say “no.”

    Wait until you hear him answer the question “Are you pro-choice?”

  5. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    === and I think before we introduce yet another drug into the lives of our young people and, I guess the full population as well, we ought to understand what we’re getting ourselves into. ===

    You’re about 90 years too late.

  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    Follow the science and medical community, Einstein, and you’ll realize what a babbling fool you sound like equating opioids to marijuana.

    For crying out loud, would Kennedy have us believe he doesn’t have life experiences that starkly reveal the differences between opioids and marijuana?

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    “Less is always more”. LOL!!!!!!

  8. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    ugh. you can say legalize it. Patrick will still talk to you.

  9. - RogersParkProgressive - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    Kennedy should probably know that Quinn’s budget’s weren’t balanced either. Not a good sign for someone trying to take over the governor’s seat.

    And on the legalization of marijuana issue - his lack of an answer on that will most certainly not play with well black and brown communities who are disproportionately incarcerated because of low-level drug offenses.

  10. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Where are all the studies and science that say prohibition of cannabis works? Can he point to any science or studies that current drug laws are working? The massive prison population and steady drug usage rates over the past 80 years isn’t a big enough scientific study I guess, good grief.

    And IF he actually cared about opioid usage, the science says legalizing cannabis reduces that usage, along with lowering drunk driving rates.

    Maybe he should just run against Rauner in the Republican primary, seems like a better fit for his brand of denying settled science.

  11. - Three-Finger Brown - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    The Kennedy clan has always been vehemently anti-pot. They are like my Irish grandmother. “Just say no, kids!” in a gravely voice as she swirls around a glass of whiskey with a cigarette in the same hand.

  12. - Jocko - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:25 pm:

    ==we ought to understand what we’re getting ourselves into…==

    We’re about $150 billion in the hole and there’s a product that’ll add $2.4 billion (plus jobs & more tourists) into our economy each year. Understand now?

  13. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:27 pm:

    === And on the legalization of marijuana issue - his lack of an answer on that will most certainly not play with well black and brown communities who are disproportionately incarcerated because of low-level drug offenses. ===

    According to recent independent polling, 75% of Democrats support decriminalization.

    Kennedy is dead in the water on this issue.

    Major mistake.

  14. - resistanceisfutile - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    == before we introduce yet another drug into the lives of our young people ==

    Prohibition worked well for the Kennedys financially, while legal liquor has been problematic at the personal level. The ghosts of memory may whisper: “Why risk repeating it all over again?” Although this short-circuits any rational assessment at the level of public policy.

    Does anyone know if the family finances still have ties to the alcohol industry?

  15. - chi sauce - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    he gives me major pat quinn vibes lololol

  16. - lostintranslation - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Legalize it. Main reason not to legalize? City ordinances, quite the racket.

    ===City attorney Donald Leist noted that marijuana possession fines in central Illinois were as follows: Bartonville, fines range between $500 and $750; Chillicothe, not to exceed $750; East Peoria, $350 to $750; and Pekin, $200 to $750.===

  17. - Saluki - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    “Risk of respiratory effects from inhaling marijuana smoke are heightened by the more intensive way in which marijuana is smoked — when smoking marijuana compared to tobacco, there is a prolonged and deeper inhalation and it is smoked to a shorter butt length and at a higher combustion temperature. This results in approximately 5 times the carbon monoxide concentration, 3 times the tar, and the retention of one-third more tar in the respiratory tract. Higher levels of ammonia and hydrogen cyanide have also been found in marijuana smoke, compared to tobacco (Moir, et al., 2008; Wu et al., 1988; Tashkin et al., 1991; Benson & Bentley, 1995).”

    Sounds like something we should legalize and normalize. After all, there is money in it.

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    I agree w legalization, but it appears Kennedy is not. I say appears only because he won’t come out and say it. If he truly thinks it’s a bad idea, he should say so. Take the arrows, and at least some semblance of guts in doing so. If he is against it, he is becoming more of an outlier by the week.

  19. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Here’s an idea for Chris.
    Legalize Marijuana and direct a certain portion of the tax funds to battling the opiod epidemic.

    Weird pivot to the opiod epidemic. Tells you that Chris doesn’t see much of a difference between weed and heroin.

  20. - Roman - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    He lost a brother to a drug overdoes…I think that explains his uneasiness on this issue.

  21. - Three-Finger Brown - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    But, he didn’t lose a brother to marijuana (nor has anyone else in recorded history). Booze has left a much longer trail of bodies in his world.

  22. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    LOL, Quinn slightly increased taxes. Uh Chris, in what world is a 67% increase in taxes called “slight???”

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    Roman- “He lost a brother to overdose”…Then he should be FOR legal cannabis! Look what even partial (medical) legalization does- “In States With MEDlCAL MARlJUANA, Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25 Percent” (NewsWeek). He is right that “balancing the budget” is not really a good reason to legalize, but those lives saved by cannabis, are!

  24. - Rauners Carhart Costume - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    Jeez. Kennedy can’t get out of his own way in person-to-person interviews. Clearly, being smooth in front of the camera (or microphone) is not hereditary.

    Tying opioids to marijuana? Has CK read any articles in the last couple years re: opioids?

  25. - Roman - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    - Three Finger Brown - - anon @ 2:15 -

    I’m with you on this, I support legalization. I’m just saying, when you lose a loved one to drugs this can be a tough issue on which to set emotions aside. Kennedy really struggles to articulate a position on this — I suspect it might have something to do with his life experience. I disagree with him, but I get it.

  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Saluki, ever heard of vaping? Edibles? Get into the 21st Century.

    Also, that Reagan-era “Just say no” crud is just that. Crud. How many people smoke as much marijuana as your average cigarette smoker? Fun with numbers!

  27. - Chicago(R) - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Legalize it, and tax it. It’s a billion dollar industry, and the state is BROKE! This should be an easy one, for crying out loud!!!

  28. - frisbee - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    His kin Pat Kennedy, along with Kevin Sabet, have been touring the country proclaiming how evil the jazz cabbage is to anyone who will listen.

    Saluki, show me the bodies, hard numbers of people who have died from lung cancer from only smoking cannabis. But I see your Tashkin study and raise you another: “Regular smoking of marijuana by itself causes visible and microscopic injury to the large airways that is consistently associated with an increased likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis that subside after cessation of use. On the other hand, habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function when assessed either cross-sectionally or longitudinally, except for possible increases in lung volumes and modest increases in airway resistance of unclear clinical significance. Therefore, no clear link to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been established. Although marijuana smoke contains a number of carcinogens and cocarcinogens, findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk for the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use, although evidence is mixed concerning possible carcinogenic risks of heavy, long-term use. Although regular marijuana smoking leads to bronchial epithelial ciliary loss and impairs the microbicidal function of alveolar macrophages, evidence is inconclusive regarding possible associated risks for lower respiratory tract infection. Several case reports have implicated marijuana smoking as an etiologic factor in pneumothorax/pneumomediastinum and bullous lung disease, although evidence of a possible causal link from epidemiologic studies is lacking. In summary, the accumulated weight of evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use of marijuana compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco.”

  29. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    “We have very few beds in Illinois to deal with the opioid crisis or a methodology to put people on the path to recovery, and I think before we introduce yet another drug into the lives of our young people and, I guess the full population as well, we ought to understand what we’re getting ourselves into.”

    Ridiculous implication, to compare marijuana to opioids as far as harm. Kennedy’s not my guy. I’ll vote for him against Rauner but not in the Primary (as yet).

    We can make lots of money by legalizing, as some of us keep saying.

  30. - JerryN - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    “I still have pharmaceutical money to court”

  31. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    =Legalize it, and tax it. It’s a billion dollar industry, and the state is BROKE!=

    I agree. What I found even more perplexing was this comment from Kennedy - “I mean, we’re not a failed state.”

    So what exactly does a failed state look like? This suggests that we’re passing some litmus test that Kennedy is using. I’d sure like to know what that might be.

  32. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    So stupid. This is a political gimme for Democrats. Biss or Pritzker or someone is going to hammer him for this sometime soon.

  33. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    ==I’m a big believer in science and the medical profession. I would take my cues from them.==

    The same “science” that said opiods weren’t addictive. Marijuana has a clinical trail lasting thousands of years…

  34. - Illinois Native - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 4:30 pm:

    ===I’m a big believer in science and the medical profession. I would take my cues from them.===

    A 400-page report from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, came out earlier this year. It analyzed research from more than 15 countries. Of the hundreds of purported medical benefits the conclusion was that only three are concretely supported by scientific evidence: treating chronic pain, nausea after chemotherapy, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

  35. - Molly Maguire - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    Words, yes. With this cat, get used to it.

  36. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 6:03 pm:

    For a long time we’ve had the CK (Catherine Kelly) word salad on CapFax. Now we get to sample CK (Chris Kennedy) word salad.

    His isn’t any better.

    While I sympathize with his family’s loss, in addition to the alcoholism that has plagued various members of his family, I’m appalled by the poor way he’s dodging the question here.

    He probably would do better on the Republican ticket, but he may be worried about losing his job in the company his grandfather founded, in part with money Grandpa earned a bootlegger.

    Would Rauner consider Kennedy as a lieutenant governor, rather than “Slip and Sue”? Would there be people foolish enough to vote for this” bipartisan ” ticket?

  37. - Roscoe_Rat_Matt - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 6:12 pm:

    Lost access to my vote with this incoherent, fossilized dribble…

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 6:25 pm:

    As I weed through the Democratic candidates trying to decide who to vote for Mr. Kennedy’s non-answer made that decision easier.

  39. - Homer J. Quinn - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 6:28 pm:

    he aims straight at his foot every time this question comes up. this guy really knows how to lose.

  40. - JoeMaddon - Wednesday, Jun 7, 17 @ 11:18 pm:

    And Biss responds with a strong argument in support of legalization:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* There's a simple explanation for this
* 1,287 new cases, 73 additional deaths
* Pritzker says one of his office employees has tested positive - Largest single-day death toll so far - 3680 hospital patients yesterday - "43% of our total hospital beds are available and 35% of our ICU beds are available" - Non-COVID hospital visits drop due to stay at home order - Usage trend up 8 percentage points for ICU beds and 5 points for ventilators in a week - Some Chicago-area ICU units "near max capacity" - Peoria and Edwardsville see available ICU beds dropping - New cases in 23 more counties in last week alone - Thanks Gov. Newsome for 100 ventilators - Placed orders for 3620 more ventilators - 25 percent reduction in detained juvenile population - No "regular close contact" with infected staffer - Pritzker not tested - Won't comment about report of 12,000 body bags ordered - State and locals checking records for missed COVID-19 deaths - Not encouraging arrests - No special policing orders issued - Asked about regrets - Responds to Rep. Wilhour - No plan for regional stand down of order - Responds to Trump's latest claim - Addresses EO on prisoner release
* Where does Illinois rank in comparison?
* Question of the day
* Credit Unions Throughout Illinois Offering Modifications To Existing Loans
* Dr. Pliura goes to court
* NRCC escalates rhetoric against Casten, calling him "an asset for China’s Communist Party"
* What's up with this new EO?
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Playing a belated game of catch-up
* ACLU urges police restraint
* Rep. Wilhour wants "discussion" about herd immunity
* To Flowbee or not to Flowbee
* The numbers behind the bickering
* Good news, bad news
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