* 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.