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Recreational cannabis sponsors offer to educate Rauner “when he is ready to deal in facts, not scare tactics”

Monday, Dec 4, 2017

* We talked about this a bit on Friday, but the Sun-Times adds some context

Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking a blunt stance, telling a Downstate TV station that it would be a “mistake” to legalize marijuana in Illinois.

The Republican governor has, in the past, said he wants more studies on the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug. On Wednesday, he took it further.

“I do not support legalizing marijuana. I think that’s a mistake. You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here,” Rauner said in an interview on WSIL in Marion. “I do not support legalizing marijuana.”

In April, the governor called recreational marijuana “a very, very difficult subject.” He said he wouldn’t support legalizing marijuana unless there’s a study of the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug.

* Press release…

The sponsors of legislation to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Illinois pushed back against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s opposition based on a supposed lack of data to support legalization.

“The governor’s statement against legalizing recreational adult-use marijuana is shortsighted and uninformed,” Steans said. “States began legalizing recreational marijuana five years ago. That’s five years of data that show that teen use does not increase when it’s legalized.”

State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) introduced legislation earlier this year to allow adults in Illinois to possess of up to 28 grams of cannabis and allow facilities to sell cannabis products. The measure includes a number of public safety and public health measures, such as funding for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis abuse prevention programs.

“The mistake here is Governor Rauner not taking the time to familiarize himself with the incredible success states are having with this ‘experiment,’” Cassidy said. “The data indicate no increase in teen use, massive reductions in the criminal black market, and the kind of booming economic success he says he wants for Illinois. We are happy to sit down with the governor to discuss this legislation when he is ready to deal in facts, not scare tactics.”

According to Colorado’s health department’s report “Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2016,” past-month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average and has remained unchanged since legalization occurred.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who are already using marijuana recreationally,” Steans said. “We have an opportunity to regulate the product so that is safe and sold in stores rather than on the streets. It’s time for the governor to realize that this is a public health and public safety measure.”

The sponsors have held several subject matter hearings to gather more information about the potential effects of legalizing cannabis in Illinois and will continue to do so.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mouthy - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    About July of next year Canada will have legalized Marijuana for recreational use throughout the country. Maybe Illinois could borrow their study…

  2. - Saluki - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Typically lighting things on fire and breathing in the smoke isn’t healthy. Study complete. Decriminalize yes, legalize…no.

  3. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    “Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking a blunt stance…”

    *Rim shot*

  4. - Southern - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Saluki - So are we banning tobacco as well?

  5. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    ===the data indicate no increase in teen use ===

    The data also indicate an increase in adult use. Prices have plummeted 67 percent since legalization. Combine sharply dropping prices with corporations advertising and marketing to maximize profits, it’s predictable that consumption will rise.

  6. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    Once again Saluki, you fail to acknowledge the large and still growing edibles market.

  7. - Wrong - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    Someone should tell the Sun-Times that WSIL is in Carterville, not Marion. Just sayin’.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    A blunt stance - love it

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    Less than four weeks to California’s recreational market opening. Canada’s opens in 30 weeks. New Jersey will also open next year. Let us not study this until we are last.

  10. - PJ - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    ===Typically lighting things on fire and breathing in the smoke isn’t healthy. Study complete. Decriminalize yes, legalize…no.===

    Continue allowing it to exist in a bizarre netherworld of partial lawfulness where the only people benefiting monetarily are gangs and cartels because … smoking is bad?

    Give up on regulation the ingredients to make it safer and hundreds of millions in tax revenue based on a justification that should be used to criminalize tobacco?

    Please never run for office. Or with scissors.

  11. - Northsider - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    So Jay and Silent Bob won’t be joining BTIA, then?

  12. - Langhorne - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    Rauner really hates it when an issue crops up that doesnt fit into his message profile, pro or con. He has to be able to welcome it (92% taxpayer friendliness, fedl tax cut for the middle class), or oppose it (marijuana), with a constant madigan refrain. Thats where governing comes in. Governing means objectively analyzing an issue, within a principled framework, and then taking action.

    Rauners “principles” are crush unions, and starve the beast, but he doesnt want to admit it. His message is popular buzzwords–tax rollback, freeze property taxes, term limits. If he tells the truth, it is mainly by accident. He lies because the truth is damning–balanced budget, higher education, social services, etc. i am out of coffee, end of rant.

  13. - Langhorne - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    Rauners “marijuana=mistake” couldnt be a bigger invitation to madigan to use the issue to mess w him.

  14. - Phil King - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    ==it’s predictable that consumption will rise.==

    Even if that’s true, who cares?

    Marijuana is less harmful to the user and less dangerous to others than alcohol.

  15. - Tom - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    They need to legalize it on the Federal level. The homeless rate in Colorado has skyrocketed. Even Tom, Dick and Pothead headed there and have caused problems with their human services infrastructure. More young beggars on the streets than I have ever seen in the past.

  16. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    Legalization does not have to mean commercial legalization. In the first country to legalize marijuana, Uruguay, the government has a monopoly on sales, and only two low THC varieties are sold.

    Commercial legalization means advertising and marketing to maximize consumption and profit. If the tobacco model were followed, however, then legalization could also mean a decrease in social approval and in consumptin.

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    ===Decriminalize yes, legalize…no. ===

    So, you’re fine with violent gangs and cartels controlling growing, distribution and sales? Yeah. Go with that.

  18. - Shake - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Illinois Will Always Be Last On Anything About Marijuana Legalization. Sad. Illinois Needs Revenue. What Better Way To Get Millions?

  19. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work. All that did was foster violence and aid the mob. We aren’t going to win the war on pot. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it. We have plenty of laws regulating alcohol a s cigarettes. Refine those. Continue to allow people to be cited or fired for improper use. Focus our war on drugs to more dangerous ones like meth or opiates.

    Rauner doesn’t ‘ have a social agenda’ except for the ‘get off my lawn’ stuff.

    FYI - i’d rather people bought their pot at the corner dispensary than from the cartel.

  20. - QC Transplant - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    This is an issue that is definitely going to be around in the 101st GA. Any candidate for the GA should be ready to take and defend their stance on this issue.

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    Prices are down something like 15 percent not 67.

  22. - striketoo - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    “Focus our war on drugs to more dangerous ones like meth or opiates.”
    Actually, prohibition doesn’t work, never has, never will. Legalize all drugs and treat addiction as the medical problem that it is.

  23. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    Rauner does not want to create jobs by legalizing, regulating and taxing a multibillion dollar industry. He wants to gouge the working class and knock workers down sufficiently so that super-rich corporations and businesses can ensure to keep profits as high and labor costs as low as possible.

  24. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 11:50 am:


    I’ll agree that addiction is a medical problem. However, I’m not ready to legalize a product for consumption that is made out of battery acid.

  25. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    - So are we banning tobacco as well? -

    Campfires too.

  26. - frisbee - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    Perhaps the sponsors should get the Speaker to say he is against it that way Rauner would support it.

    To the post,

    Rauner issued the medical cannabis licenses when Quinn wouldn’t. Now Rauner has created probably a thousand jobs with the medical cannabis industry. Depending on how the state regulates legal ganja Rauner could easily create tens of thousands of jobs with legalization. What other specifics has he ever offered that could create that amount of jobs?

    Jobs, investment dollars and needed tax revenue all from simply ending another failed prohibition, yet our pro business governor says it would be a mistake. And just because someone has a family member with an addiction problem (who doesn’t?!?) that doesn’t mean that responsible users should be forced into the criminal element for a comparatively safe substance.

    Genesis 1:12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

  27. - the Patriot - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    == violent gangs and cartels controlling growing, distribution and sales==

    How is that different than what we have now? Applications for cultivation centers are not subject to FOIA. As we speak pounds of Marjuana are being grown in IL by secret groups burried in a serious of shell corporations under complete secrecy on what is basically an all cash basis.

    If we are going to have legitmate business people operating out in the open in full disclosure with known regulation, we should discuss. If we are going to ramp up selling drugs by unnamed people in complete secrecy, no thanks.

  28. - RJM - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    Rauner wants to see studies? Then he should direct the Dept of Public Health and Dept. of Agriculture to analyze the data currently being created in the Medical Cannabis Program. He should encourage our research hospitals to conduct research using the Medical Cannabis Program. Instead, he’s done everything he can to stunt research into the program. Israel is the center of cannabis research in the world. Illinois has the opportunity but Rauner doesn’t care. Huge lost opportunity.

  29. - flea - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    Patriot…..It is far from an all cash business. you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  30. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    === Marijuana is less harmful to the user and less dangerous to others than alcohol. ===

    That’s true. But that does not mean marijuana is harmless. Cannabis dependence is a legitimate public health and safety concern, as is skyrocketing use. It’s instructive that at least some legalization proponents think there is nothing to worry about.

  31. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    === Prices are down something like 15 percent not 67. ===

    “The current retail price of $7.38 per gram (including tax) represents a 67 percent decrease in just three years of the legalization, with more decline likely in the future.”
    Source: Keith Humphries,”How legalization caused the price of marijuana to collapse,” WaPo News Wonk, Sept. 5, 2017

  32. - anon - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    will be legal soon he was not going to sign the abortion bill or the sanctuary city bill either

  33. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    That is some optimism to think that Rauner is willing to listen, consider evidence and learn anything. In all honesty, I haven’t seen a glimmer of it in him.

  34. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    === Even if that’s true, (that legalization will lead to higher consumption), who cares? ===

    With that attitude, a legalization regime will not prioritize public health. Regulators will not recognize that industry always seeks to maximize consumption and profit. We will see the emergence of a powerful new industry that will donate to pols and oppose regulations and taxes that would discourage consumption. In short, we would be replacing one undesirable policy with another.

  35. - Ron - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    Illinois has some of the worst political leaders in the nation. We are easily leaving $500,000,000/annually in tax revenue on the table by not legalizing, regulating and taxing pot.

  36. - Ron - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    $500,000,000 is a very nice pension payment.

  37. - the Patriot - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    By definition the money never hits a FDIC institution and is transferred to a serious of shell corporations. It may not be cash in the sense of greenbacks, but for accountability and transparency purposes it is.

    The point of my comment is that under the current blueprint, we are all ok with the owners of these cultivations centers operating in complete secret so no one knows who is growing or selling large quantities of marjuana in their community.

    Rich has an excellent point about regulating drugs. My point is that IL has very little over sight to the point it is all secret.

  38. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===no one knows who is growing or selling large quantities of marjuana in their community===

    Quick, gimme the list of all recreational pot dealers in Illinois.

  39. - flea - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 3:24 pm:


  40. - I'm famous too - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    ==•So, you’re fine with violent gangs and cartels controlling growing, distribution and sales? Yeah. Go with that.===

    I’m not convinced that legalization actually moves away from violent gangs and cartels growing and distributing. It might reduce their activity, but there is still a lot of black market activity happening out west. We have medical cannabis patients with cards saying they are still buying from the streets.

  41. - Phil King - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==We will see the emergence of a powerful new industry that will donate to pols and oppose regulations and taxes==

    That’s best case scenario.

    Don’t get my hopes up.

  42. - anon2 - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 4:19 pm:

    Over the years, the chief argument against legalization has been that usage would increase –a prediction that reformers have traditionally denied. Now we data about increased adult use that no one has refuted, but one reformer says, “who cares?”

    In other words, it may be the conservatives are right about one main point. But attitudes about marijuana have changed, in part due to the widespread medical use, so that more people think it’s either harmless — because it’s not as bad as alcohol — or good for you. Unfortunately, the pendulum is swinging from one extreme to the other. The first exaggerated the harm from marijuana (reefer madness), while the second ignores the actual harm, especially from chronic use. In short, legalization will reduce some problems while increasing others.

  43. - Ron - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 4:54 pm:

    $500,000,000 would help solve an insolvent state’s budget problem.

  44. - Rabid - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 5:29 pm:

    weed makes you have mental problems, or is it people with mental problems using it, you would think rehabbers would want weed off the street to find out

  45. - the Patriot - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 5:46 pm:

    You can disagree all you want, but at least one cultivation center operates in complete secrecy in a series of LLCs. The official position of the Department of Ag is that the permits and applications are not subject to FOIA.

    Part of the argument is to get oversight and transparency in the cultivation and distribution, but that is a false argument when we create a program with no transparency.

  46. - xgeek - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 7:35 pm:

    Seems to me that most are missing the most important aspect of why it should be legalized. My Body, My Life, My prerogative. At the point at which legal use affects others negatively(driving high, etc)Then worry, but until that time, nobody has a right to tell me or others how to behave in our own homes on our own time.

  47. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 8:16 pm:

    If we legalize we can use some of the tax revenue to treat addiction. It’s a much better investment than locking people up in jail and prison.

  48. - blue dog dem - Monday, Dec 4, 17 @ 8:38 pm:

    How do the states that have legalized maryjeewanna handle home growers?

  49. - Pundent - Tuesday, Dec 5, 17 @ 8:23 am:

    =How do the states that have legalized maryjeewanna handle home growers?=

    I suspect that they have better things to worry about than a guy who grows a bit in his basement or backyard.

  50. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 5, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    —Cannabis dependence is a legitimate public health and safety concern, as is skyrocketing use—

    It is increasing not because of addiction, but because of overwhelming science on health benefits. More people are using it to treat conditions. From glaucoma, epilepsy, crohn’s and cancer, to anxiety, migraines, and much much more.

  51. - Illinois Resident - Tuesday, Dec 5, 17 @ 7:58 pm:

    Cannabis is not tobacco and does not cause cancer. Enough with the reefer madness. Plus you can vaporize or eat edibles without smoking. The state needs the money and citizens need their rights back.

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