Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 - Wallace faults Pritzker - Pritzker criticizes Kennedy - GOP Rep. Skillicorn favors legalization *** Pritzker reiterates support for legalized marijuana
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*** UPDATED x3 - Wallace faults Pritzker - Pritzker criticizes Kennedy - GOP Rep. Skillicorn favors legalization *** Pritzker reiterates support for legalized marijuana

Friday, Jan 12, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, JB Pritzker was joined by State Senator Heather Steans and 48th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Carol Ronen at a press conference to lay out the importance of legalizing marijuana in Illinois and standing up to Donald Trump’s attacks on Illinois communities.

JB highlighted that no more studies are needed to show it’s time for Illinois to safely move forward with legalizing marijuana. He outlined how he would modernize drug laws and move Illinois towards a criminal justice system that gives all Illinoisans a chance to reach their full potential. JB also discussed the importance of regulating and taxing marijuana to generate much needed revenue for this state.

“Our state should legalize marijuana,” said JB Pritzker. “This is not a moment for a governor who stands with Trump. In the name of criminal justice reform, consumer safety, and increased state revenue, Illinois needs a governor who is ready to legalize marijuana in Illinois. There is an abundance of evidence that shows we can legalize marijuana in Illinois in a safe way. There is an abundance of evidence that shows the real benefits this would have on our state. Most importantly, it is a step forward in reforming our broken criminal justice system. Criminalizing marijuana hasn’t made our communities safer. What it’s done is disproportionately impact black and brown communities. The criminalization of cannabis never has been and never will be enforced fairly, and it’s time to bring that to an end.”

“With Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions attacking our communities, Illinois needs a governor who will do the right thing and stand up for legalized marijuana,” said Senator Heather Steans. “JB knows there have been enough studies on this. We know marijuana can be legalized in a safe way, and it’s time we do it. It will raise revenue for our state, and will help the communities devastated by the war on drugs. It’s time we elect a governor who will move our state forward on this issue, and JB is the leader to do it.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee)…

Currently alcohol is regulated as a legal product. To sell, serve, or produce alcohol requires a license. Federal, State, and Local laws control where liquor can be sold, require labeling, and who can purchase. It’s time for small amounts of Marijuana to fall under similar regulations.

Like many,I would like to see fewer people using and addicted to recreational drugs like alcohol and Marijuana. I also recognize that current prohibition is not working. Just like alcohol, Marijuana is a moral issue not a legal one.

As a serious fiscal conservative, I must point out the disservice to taxpayers this prohibition is. According to the Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) the average misdemeanor arrest costs $892. Illinois taxpayers spend over $25 Million a year on these arrests alone. Most of these cases are dropped, plead out, or withheld judgment. I would like these taxpayers resources to redirected to reducing addiction, fighting serious crime, and even refunded back to the taxpayers.

Regulating and taxing Marijuana sales is not some panacea for increased tax revenue. Regulating, testing, and labeling for THC levels does prevent unknown or extremely potent strains, eliminating the argument about today’s street Marijuana being more powerful than decades ago.

Personally I think smoking or consuming Marijuana is foolish and want to see fewer people, especially young people use it. Even with prohibition, it’s reported that illegal Marijuana is commonly available. It’s time to find a solution that works.

I will continue to advance limited government and free market solutions to Illinois’ problems and legalizing small quantities of Marijuana is one of them.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker used his event today to criticize Chris Kennedy on the topic

Now, I know that there are lot of people who look at this race and they say that all the Democratic candidates for governor agree on the issues. Well this is one place where we do not agree.

I want to end the injustice by legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana. Chris Kennedy does not.

There are those, like Kennedy, who say this should wait. But the truth is, for far too long marijuana laws have led to discrimination and injustice. For far too long marijuana has been unregulated. And for far too long, our state has waited and watched and missed out on jobs and revenue that our economy so desperately needs.

After decades of studies, and of contemplation and of delay, the time to act is now.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rep. Litesa Wallace…

JB Pritzker’s press conference on legalizing marijuana and criminal justice reform included no voices of those most affected by the racist and inconsistent application of current law. For decades we’ve had a war on drugs that has targeted black and brown communities. To have a press conference on the Northside of Chicago without any representation of those communities pays lip service to the issues JB is claiming to champion. Daniel and I will continue to fight to change the criminal justice system from a restorative lens.


  1. - Wolf Point - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    This is one of several reasons why I support JB and CANNOT support Kennedy.

  2. - Moe Berg - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    Laying the groundwork for a contrast with Kennedy (if necessary) and eventually Rauner.

  3. - Ron - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    Good, we need this badly.

  4. - Kay-Ro - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    He’s got my vote.

  5. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    Smart move on JB’s part to be unequivocal in his support. I can understand why others would not support marijuana. But what I commonly here from Rauner and Kennedy is that we need more “evidence” before a decision can be made. Nonsense, their opposition has nothing to do with the absence of evidence. They simply don’t like the idea. Might as well come right out and say it.

  6. - Anon - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:02 pm:

    This is why I don’t understand how Chris Kennedy can accuse Rahm Emanuel’s policies of being racist when he himself opposes the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana is illegal because Henry Anslinger was afraid of it being used by scary black jazz musicians to seduce innocent white women.

  7. - Al - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    With 10 million a week in new revenue maybe the State could shut down these “pain clinics” which are recklessly and without medical need dispensing opioid narcotics into our communities.

  8. - Chris Widger - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    Totally agree–this is the best thing Pritzker is running on and I hope it peels more votes to him.

  9. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    How about that. Somthing I agree with JB on.

  10. - Concerned Dem - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    A nice note to end the week on for Team Pritzker, after taking his first real hard shots of the year. If his team keeps this up then maybe I’ll change my nickname to Moderately Confident Dem.

  11. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    Has Michael Madigan given the nod to legalization? Unless he has, JB is just puffing smoke.

  12. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    This I hope will be a big election issue. We need marijuana legalization on many levels—criminal justice reform, revenue, job growth, personal freedom, etc.

  13. - frisbee - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    And it looks like the Dems will driving turnout statewide with a legalization question. I expect this to end up like the Millionaire’s tax and minimum wage increases, strong public support but no actual change in law…

  14. - Arsenal - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    The fact that he made it through a press conference without getting dragged into creating new headlines about the Blago tape is it’s own little victory for Team JB.

  15. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:35 pm:


    Yep. I wish we could get something that was actually binding on the ballot. Hopefully when Madigan is finally gone, this is not the exact way the game is played.

  16. - anon2 - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    === “There is an abundance of evidence that shows we can legalize marijuana in Illinois in a safe way.” ===

    There is some mixed evidence from the states that have adopted legalization in recent years. Either side can cherrypick the particular outcomes that support their views, but it’s not accurate to summarize the evidence as all one way or the other. I favor legalization that actually promotes public health and safety.

    Here are a couple of outcomes that undermine safety.
    * Marijuana-related traffic deaths have doubled since legalization in Colorado.
    * Prices have dropped 67 percent since legalization. The law of supply and demand tells us what happens to demand when price drops sharply. So it should be no surprise that marijuana use is rising.

  17. - Moe Berg - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    Agree with Rep. Skillicorn, with whom I don’t agree on much, on this one. Applaud him and Sen. Barickman for speaking out. Another area where D&R can work together. Encouraging.

  18. - Baloneymous - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    Law of supply and demand—-

    It’s also about supply. Now that the supply is actually legal you can’t charge an arm and a leg like u could for illegal weed. And now that the supply is legal, of course those who no longer fear losing a job or being arrested may try it. Which will lead to higher demand, as well as the tourists who fly in or drive to CO. If the price was still higher people would still do it. People aren’t only smoking more weed because it’s 67% cheaper is my point. There are other reasons.

  19. - anon2 - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    === Personally I think smoking or consuming Marijuana is foolish and want to see fewer people, especially young people use it. ===

    If the goal really is to reduce use via legalization, then the correct model is current tobacco regulation. While tobacco is legal, smoking is becoming less and less socially acceptable, and its use is declining, including among youth.

    By contrast, unfettered commercial legalization means aggressive marketing, various potencies of THC, edibles and topicals combining with other ingredients such as tobacco, menthol, flavoring, or sugar.

    In short, marijuana should be legal but be subject to a robust demand reduction program modeled on successful tobacco control programs. Policy must prioritize public health over profits.

  20. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    I am 100% opposed to drug usage outside of medical needs, be it alcohol or any of these mood altering substances BUT it’s clear that prohibition hasn’t worked. We are wasting money and lives on behavior we can’t control. Time for a change.

  21. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    @Frisbee, Ducky: with your knowledge of lawmaking, you should be working for the Rauner administration. Democrats came within votes of passing the millionaire tax, the minimum wage hike was derailed by Rauner, and there’s no such think as a binding statewide referendum in Illinois.

    @anon2 - go cook the books elsewhere. More drivers were killed by cell phones than driving under the influence of pot in Colorado in 2016, and the rise may have had as much to do with population shifts than legalization. I agree with Pritzker that part of the revenue we raise from sales of pot ought to be dedicated to public education campaigns, just as we warn people about texting while driving, drinking while driving, wearing seat belts. But that is no reason to make pot illegal any more than a reason to make cell phones or beer illegal. I trust Secretary White will do a good job of educating drivers.

  22. - Al - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Are there any candidates who will end the Fingerprinting requirements and background check for the use of medical cannabis?
    What about the revocation of FOIDs for medical cannabis users? Are there any candidates which will end this practice?

  23. - TPaine - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    It seems to me the best course of action is the one following empirical evidence. In only this way can the people make a rational decision. When we mask known truths with deception we do the greatest injustice one American citizen can do to another. There has been a lot of deception and misinformation in the light of pseudo-morality on this subject. This is a country that was founded on enlightment.

    With that in mind the known uses for hemp, aside from recreational, are many. Of great importance is medicinal. It is not opinion, but valid replicable fact that CBD oil is useful in the treatment of disease from minor to catastrophic. This completely obliterates the justification for Schedule 1 status.

    Hemp fiber is useful as a lost circulation material LCM in the oil industry and it’s quick renewability and eco-friendly nature and low cost make it desirable. There are small companies in North Carolina growing by leaps and bounds because the state was wise enough to see this. Meanwhile, Illinois sits on some of the most fertile soil in the union. Are we going to hand over hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in tax revenue and hundreds of jobs to other states when we can do it just as well or better? And these are jobs that require skilled to unskilled labor.

    There is so much more to it than just the little I posted here. Google is your friend people. If one is honest about it, when looked into it is easy to see that legalization, done right is the only responsible path.

    It seems criminal to stand in the way of such progress. Yet here we are listening to dated arguments about hippies from the uninformed and those who wish to obfuscate. Such a shame on a country founded on thought and truth.

    I hadn’t been that impressed with Pritzker until this. It is brave, even if politically motivated, for him to stand on the side of the majority and take on unjust federal law with those who want reform.

  24. - frisbee - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:16 pm:

    == revocation of FOIDs for medical cannabis users==

    Medical cannabis patients’ FOIDs are NOT revoked. However, if a currently registered patient applies for or goes to renew a FOID or CCL that application will be denied as will a firearm purchase at a licensed firearm retails. Private party firearm sales still go through and a patient who has a FOID or CCL do not need to surrender it.

    “If I am a qualifying patient or designated caregiver pursuant to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and hold a valid Medical Cannabis Card, are my Firearms Owners Identification Card and Concealed Carry License still valid?
    Medical marijuana cardholders will not have their FOID or CCL cards revoked, or be denied issuance of a FOID or CCL card, due to their status as a medical marijuana cardholder. Such cards are State-issued, governed by State law, and State law requires that a person’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder not result in the denial of any right or privilege.”

  25. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:16 pm:

    To Update #3:

    So unless you’re a person of color, have a person of color with you, or state an opinion about marijuana legalization/criminal justice reform in a location where lots of people of color live your views should be discounted?

  26. - Arsenal - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    Wallace’s response seems really churlish. Ya’ll agree on the policy, but are gonna get hung up that the wrong people were on stage for it?

  27. - Anonish - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    Sorry Rep. Wallace, so you are mad because he didn’t have people of color there as political photo props? How dare he.

  28. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    Rep. Wallace’s comments are beyond silly.

  29. - Illinois resident - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    64% of Americans want cannabis legalization. We are in the majority. This is going to happen. Pritzker has my vote. Our state needs this badly.

  30. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    “Even with prohibition, it’s reported that illegal Marijuana is commonly available.”

    Hahaha. Skillicorn does the, “my friends tell me …”

  31. - AngelFire - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Unfortunately, the people most affected can’t be there because they’re probably in IDOC right now.

  32. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    Wallace translation: JB Pritzker isn’t as good at blatantly pandering to black voters as my guy Dan Biss

  33. - Centennial - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Wallace is doing Daniel no favors on this one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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