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Legal pot is on the way

Friday, Nov 9, 2018

* Fox Chicago

Governor-elect JB Pritzker said Wednesday he wants to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois almost immediately after being sworn in next year.

“That’s something we can work on nearly right away,” Pritzker told FOX 32’s Mike Flannery.

He also said he will look at vacating arrest records for those who have been convicted of crimes involving marijuana.
photo

“I definitely want to look at all those arrest records. If we’re going to legalize recreational marijuana, then we shouldn’t have all the, what I think are, challenges in our criminal justice system, you know, still existing, people sitting in prison for things that are currently legal,” Pritzker said.

* Tribune

Sponsors plan to introduce a new legalization bill in January, and hope to get it passed before the session ends in May. The proposed measure would allow the commercial sale and regulation of marijuana, similar to alcohol, for adults 21 and over. There would probably be a six-month waiting period for officials to draw up rules before issuing licenses for growing and selling it. Sponsors say existing medical marijuana companies would likely get the first crack at sales.

Until the legislature convenes, sponsors say they’ll continue to meet with stakeholders, including Pritzker, to revise final details on a wide range of issues; among the most important is the rate at which the drug will be taxed.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sen. Heather Steans, both Democrats from Chicago, would not specify what the rate will be, saying they will negotiate with Pritzker and others to craft legislation that will pass. But they cautioned against setting the tax rate too high, because that would hinder one of the main goals: to cut out the black market and related violent crime. […]

House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers should stop their rush toward legalization.

“I will never support legalization,” he said. “I don’t like how quickly we are moving. Illinois should not be part of this lab experiment. I see no societal value.”

* New study

This report by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finds that high taxpayer costs for law enforcement and cannabis-related incarceration would be reduced by legalizing recreational marijuana. In total, Illinois taxpayers would save $18.4 million annually in reduced incarceration costs, law enforcement spending, and legal fees from marijuana legalization. This revenue could be redirected to solve other crimes– such as homicides, robberies, and assaults.

The economy would also grow if Illinois were to legalize recreational marijuana. If marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed in Illinois, an estimated $1.6 billion would be sold in the state, in part due to regional tourism. At a 26.25 percent state excise tax on retail marijuana in addition to the 6.25 percent general sales tax, Illinois would:

    • generate $525 million in new tax revenues, including $505 million for the state and $20 million for local governments– a move that credit rating agencies have called “credit positive;”
    • create over 23,600 new jobs at more than 2,600 businesses in Illinois;
    • boost the Illinois economy by $1 billion annually; and
    • allow the state to make additional pension payments and vital public investments in infrastructure, K-12 public schools, college tuition assistance programs, and drug treatment and prevention programs

The benefits of legalization outweigh the social costs. While some legislators and constituents are concerned that legalizing recreational marijuana would increase consumption of other illicit drugs, increase motor vehicle crashes, and reduce workplace productivity, there is no evidence to support these claims. In fact, legalized cannabis has been found to reduce opioid use by as much as 33 percent, reduce traffic fatalities by as much as 11 percent, and have no effect on occupational accidents or rates of employee absenteeism. This is because marijuana consumption has not been found to increase after legalization.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

108 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers should stop their rush toward legalization.

    “I will never support legalization,” he said. “I don’t like how quickly we are moving. Illinois should not be part of this lab experiment. I see no societal value.”

    America is moving away from marijuana prohibition buddy.


  2. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    ===“I will never support legalization,” he said. “I don’t like how quickly we are moving. Illinois should not be part of this lab experiment. I see no societal value.”===

    This was an easy item for a bi-partisan effort. I wish I knew what societal value Durkin thinks if being served by the status quo? Enriching criminals?

    i like Durkin and respect him, but his position on this is just dumb.


  3. - TominChicago - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers should stop their rush toward legalization.

    “I will never support legalization,” he said. “I don’t like how quickly we are moving. Illinois should not be part of this lab experiment. I see no societal value.”

    Durkin went on to note that those darn kids better get off his lawn.


  4. - America - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    Great news! Reason and common sense prevail! More revenue to fix the pension crisis (I hope). I’m ready to vote early for JB in 2022.


  5. - ChrisB - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    If it’s good enough for Speaker Boehner, it’s good enough for me. Feds need to do this to open up banking options for the new businesses sprouting up.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/washington-needs-to-legalize-cannabis-1541361855 (Paywalled, but you get the point.)


  6. - don the legend - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    What if the majority of Durkin’s constituents let him know they support legalization? Would he change his position?


  7. - Al - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    Durkin sees no societal value in raising the tobacco age to 21 either. He is consistent in seeing what he is paid to see.


  8. - Got It - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    But but what about the evils of putting smoke in your lungs isn’t that why legislators want to change the legal age to 21 for tobacco? It’s all so hypocritical I mean confusing.


  9. - lakeside - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    “I see no societal value.”

    How about the societal benefit of a huge money injection to GRF/schools/etc from something folks are *already* doing?


  10. - Johnnie F. - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    Seems like production facilites could easily be a way to increase downstate/rural jobs. Looks like the super minority Republicans will continue to sit on their hand and be the party of no ideas.


  11. - Rockford's Finest - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    About. Damn. Time.


  12. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Terrific.

    Unlike Wisconsin, who is giving billions of tax dollars to Foxconn for job creation, 13,000 jobs, Illinoisans will pay taxes to create even more jobs.


  13. - JS Mill - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    =Seems like production facilites could easily be a way to increase downstate/rural jobs. Looks like the super minority Republicans will continue to sit on their hand and be the party of no ideas.=

    This times 2. Excellent job creation idea and the ILGOP needs to get involved.


  14. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:21 am:

    Someone out to point out to Rep. Durkin and other lawmakers that all of those minor drug offenses keep a lot of otherwise responsible citizens from owning fire arms.

    A vote against legalizing marijuana is essentially a vote to keep tens of thousands of Illinoisans from exercising their Second Amendment rights.


  15. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:23 am:

    Great, but do you know for sure that it’s on the way? Even with total Democratic control, thing get held up, and it’s probably a pretty complicated bill to write.


  16. - Turn Around For What? - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    =House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers should stop their rush toward legalization.“I will never support legalization,”=

    Mr. Durkin, enjoy your super minority status.


  17. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    How does the alcohol taxes compare?
    Will local areas be allowed to have their own taxes too?

    Do you have any insight on these things Rich?


  18. - Montrose - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    Supporting legalizing pot is akin to supporting marriage equality a couple years ago - society is moving full steam ahead and politicians, such as Jim Durkin, would be smart to catch up.


  19. - Conn Smythe - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    To all those advocates who assume the GOP caucuses will join hands and jump off a cliff on a capital bill funding mechanism, take heed of Durkin’s words here. His caucus is calcifying too much to assume they can offer any help on any revenue. All of the moderates are about gone.


  20. - HorseShoe - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    Looks like Durkin missed your article about purple thinking, eh Rich?


  21. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    And yes, we need to increase all smoking ages to 21. It is irresponsible of us to tell someone they can legally do one destructive thing (tobacco) at age 18 but cannot do the other things (pot and beer) until 21.

    If anyone disagrees with this, I would be happy to correct them in person.


  22. - Gohawks123 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    It’s finally happening…… thank god let’s try to get out of debt.


  23. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    ==- Got It - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:12 am:==

    Ever heard of edibles?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:37 am:

    Here’s how I’m approaching this… and other policy things these first two years with the new version of the GOP GA…

    Y’all are in the super minority.

    You need to show successes and bipartisanship to get voters to take y’all seriously.

    If not Pot… find a few to have some wins too.


  25. - Jocko - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    How does Durkin explain how 10 states (incl. Michigan) and 26 countries (incl. Canada) approve? More importantly, how does he plan on generating $2.4 billion of taxable income (not to mention, jobs)?
    I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.


  26. - Kayak - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    An estimated $1.6 billion would be sold in the state, in part due to regional tourism

    Enjoy Illinois, Smoke Where Lincoln Smoked


  27. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    I think I saw recently that a Republican GA member supports legalization or leans that way. Some Republicans can support this, too. It would bring jobs and revenue and lower criminal justice costs.


  28. - frisbee - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    One of the most pro business ideas to come along and Durkin says he will never support it. The “lab experiment” is another failed prohibition that has lasted over 80 years. I bet Durkin can sound off a dozen reasons why the “Noble Experiment” failed yet he cannot see the parallels between the two. Take off the blinders and help the state with this low hanging financial fruit.


  29. - TheGoodLieutenant - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    Durkin- “I will never support legalization,”

    Well there you have it. No sense in trying to sway him in the future because he has made up his mind. Move on with legalization now as the naysayers will never jump on board.


  30. - Archie Bell - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    Cool, so does that mean that JB will also remove THC from one of the tests for state employees?


  31. - Just Observing - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    Other things Durkin opposes: teaching that the world is round, vaccines, and women wearing pants.


  32. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    As if we need Durkins support to pass cannabis legalization. It is happening. Hopefully they fast track it.


  33. - AC - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    Politicians need to make this a joint effort to avoid half baked legislation that could harm a budding industry. I wonder how many kushy jobs will be added and how high demand will be? I hope the state uses the revenue responsibly, I’d hate to see state pension funds go up in smoke.

    Speaking of lame jokes, Durkin’s comments make me wonder what role he want to have in the process? After the election Tuesday, I think he’d want to sound more bipartisan and less like an inflexible Raunerite. He seems capable of so much more than that.


  34. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:53 am:

    Canada legalized, Mexico is looking at legalization, Michigan legalized. Game over folks.


  35. - anon616xx - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:54 am:

    “But they cautioned against setting the tax rate too high, because that would hinder one of the main goals: to cut out the black market and related violent crime. […]”

    This. It won’t eliminate the black market, but, the amount the consumer ends up paying will certainly affect how much is purchased legally.

    “Sponsors say existing medical marijuana companies would likely get the first crack at sales.”

    Not so much this. I would like to see smaller ‘mom and pop’ operations have a fair shot at manufacturing / sales.

    “House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers should stop their rush toward legalization.

    “I will never support legalization,” he said.”

    Certainly not this.


  36. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    I see the ILGOP is really working hard to try to bring in millennial voters. /S


  37. - Earnest - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:05 pm:

    With Rauner gone, I’m optimistic that Leader Durkin will work more by the Reagan Rule of 80% than the Rauner of No __ Problems. I respect his position but think he’ll not ostracize or threaten to primary members of his caucus whose districts have an important interest in this legislation and will want to help shape it.


  38. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:05 pm:

    I am excited about the financial positives of cannabis legalization for our state. It is not just tax revenue, although that is a major plus. Lots of jobs. Lots of tourism. Lots of vacant real estate that now will be in demand.


  39. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:08 pm:

    Not that we need the GOP to support this (although some already do), but it is amazing that the same folks that want less government, lower taxes and more industry and jobs in our state think it is a good idea to continue to prohibit cannabis legalization.


  40. - anon2 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    == This is because marijuana consumption has not been found to increase after legalization. ==

    Consumption has jumped in Colorado since legalization in 2014. According to a report by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, in 2014,13.6% of adults reported cannabis use in the past 30 days. That rose to 15.5% in 2017. Adults ages 26 and older reported a 5% usage in 2005/06, and 14% in 2015/16, a jump of nearly three times.


  41. - anon2 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    === “I will never support legalization,” he said.”
    ===

    He had the same position on medical marijuana, civil unions and marriage equality. This total opposition to popular reforms is a reason the GOP is in steep decline.

    === How about the societal benefit of a huge money injection to GRF/schools/etc from something folks are *already* doing? ===

    Like prostitution?


  42. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    anon2,

    Those numbers don’t prove an increase in consumption. Rather, it’s most likely reflective of people who were already using it moving to CO where it’s legal to do so.


  43. - Anon1234 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    That report is an embarrassment to University of Illinois. That initial summary has a huge error in logic: “In fact, legalized cannabis has been found to reduce opioid use by as much as 33 percent, reduce traffic fatalities by as much as 11 percent, and have no effect on occupational accidents or rates of employee absenteeism. This is because marijuana consumption has not been found to increase after legalization.”

    If marijuana use doesn’t increase, why would opiate use go down? How can you claim legalizing pot lowers car accidents if use doesn’t go up? Not a well written report at all.

    My concern with legalization is the message it sends young people and increased access for adolscents. I work in mental health and it is now well established that using marijuana before the brain is fully developed increases the risk for major mental illnesses like schizophrenia. People say that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and for adults it probably is. For kids it is far more dangerous. Just because you make it illegal for under 21 doesn’t mean teenager use won’t go up. Anyone who works in high schools can tell you that vape pens are everywhere, even though the legal age is 18. Legalized pot will be the same thing.

    People need to be better educated about the risks in youth.

    https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20180618/young-marijuana-users-face-psychosis-risk


  44. - RNUG - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    No brainer. It’s a revenue source for the State.

    I started to say new revenue source, but then I remembered the State once had a revenue tax stamp that sellers were supposed to buy and affix. Whatever happened to that tax stamp scheme for illegal (at the time) drugs?


  45. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    Anon2- Who cares if more adults use cannabis after legalization? Maybe folks prefer that over alcohol. Maybe folks always preferred cannabis but did not like buying it on the streets.


  46. - RNUG - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    == Seems like production facilites could easily be a way to increase downstate/rural jobs. ==

    Lots of empty warehouses, malls, Kmart and Sears stores downstate. Some if them could become cheap indoor growing facilities.


  47. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    Anon1234 - Alcohol is legal but that does not mean kids should be consuming it. Do you think alcohol should be prohibited again? It’s called parenting. Your fears defy logic.


  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    I stopped listening to Fox Chicago when their news anchor said, “Snow in Chicago.
    Can you believe it?”


  49. - Anon - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    Weed tax money has been sold as a panacea to all of our budget woes with the projected revenue having been spent about 10 different times by various budget proposals.

    Compared to what has been promised that money can do reality sinks in that $400-500 in revenue is but a drop in the bucket that doesn’t even cover interest in this state.

    Every little bit helps, but I think there is going to be a tremendous let down when the realization sinks in that weed revenue is nothing but a shiny object that doesn’t materially change much about our budget situation.

    When we do the weed thing and we are still out of structural balance I hope we can then get on to looking for real solutions. For too long we just have pointed to “if only we taxed weed” as the answer to our budget problems, because it made it easier to not deal with the reality.


  50. - anon2 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    === Who cares if more adults use cannabis after legalization? ===

    A talking point of the legalizers is that legalization will not lead to increased use.(See the quote from the ILEPI study.) I realize you don’t care if use goes up, but do you agree that assertion is false?


  51. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    “My concern with legalization is the message it sends young people and increased access for adolscents.”

    Kids have been getting illegal weed for decades, with benefits bypassing so many and going to the black market. It’s time for heads to come out of the sand. Why should we allow this to continue, when it’s been such a colossal failure?

    In Denver there’s a TV quiz show type of school program that’s used to educate teens on the dangers of marijuana, paid for by taxes. That’s what I want to see in Illinois, responsible legalization.

    Look at all the harm guns are causing, with the barrage of mass shootings and daily violence in certain parts of the country, not to mention accidents and suicides. How many hate gun control measures but are against legal weed?


  52. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Anon - Who said that legal cannabis would solve all of the problems of the state? It will help with jobs, taxes, and industry. You have an issue with that?


  53. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    Anon2 - Yes, I personally think that more adults will use cannabis after legalization and I have zero problem with that. Many adults now would like to consume cannabis but do not because it is illegal.


  54. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    I understand the talking point and think that it is silly either way regarding the choice of adults to partake in something that is safer then alcohol.


  55. - BenFolds5 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    What is wrong with taking a measured approach? Everyone here is screaming of all the money it will generate and what can happen with it. Hmm, when the tax rate was raised what exactly was paid down? When the lottery sales were to go to schools, they just took from another fund to pay for something else. Yes, rush through by the end of May. So we can fund other new spending. What a joke.


  56. - anon2 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:41 pm:

    === Those numbers don’t prove an increase in consumption. Rather, it’s most likely reflective of people who were already using it moving to CO where it’s legal to do so. ===

    That’s an interesting theory. Is there any data to back it up?

    Did the law have no deterrent effect when cannabis was illegal, at least among adults? If it did, once prohibition is repealed, that deterrence disappears.

    Once it is commercialized, advertised, and easily accessible in food, topicals, dabs, extracts, and tinctures, does nobody decide to use more? As prices plummet, does that affect demand in the least?


  57. - Facts Matter - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    RNUG - the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar tax stamp scheme on illegal drugs in another state as unconstitutional and in response Illinois stopped their program.


  58. - Not Me - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    From today’s Trib story:

    “Sponsors have held several public hearings on the subject around the state during the past year, and there will be more public hearings next year in Springfield.”

    “This is not a cash cow,“ Cassidy said. “Our goal is not to make money. It’s to improve public health and safety, fairness and the criminal justice system.”


  59. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    You folks should probably slow down a bit here with all the celebrating. Unless I missed it, Madigan has never said definitively that he would allow it. All I can find are statements from April saying that he “hasn’t yet made a final decision”. He cares about literally nothing other than protecting his majority and along with his old-timey views, this exactly the type of bill he’d stick in rules committee just because he doesn’t want someone like Yednock to have to take a tough vote. Or he might stop it just to stick his thumb in the eye of Cassidy and Pritzker.

    Until we see Pritzker actually signing the bill, we should all be pessimistic about this happening.


  60. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    Madigan also said something to the effect that he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history or get rolled by the political tide of pro-legalization.


  61. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    LHM - Do you not see the national trend. Michigan is very close to Chicago. This is not hard.


  62. - Anon1234 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    Illinois resident - I fully agree it is all about parenting. But most parents don’t know the significant dangers and thus kids don’t know either. I have teenage children and I know kids at their school have access to pretty much anything - legal or not. Most kids have heard the mantra - pot is safer than alcohol, as it is a big argument for legalization. So kids think it is safe. It isn’t.

    My fears may not seem logical to you, but I’m not putting them out there as an official “study”.

    I think it is wishful thinking to believe there will be no downside.


  63. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    Anon2 - So do you have an issue with adults using cannabis?


  64. - Anon E Moose - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    What happened to the supposed party of individual rights? Very disappointed in Rep. Durkin.


  65. - Kayak - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    If a tax rate of 26.25 percent is approved, I suggest extending the rate to cigarettes and alcohol also. An across the board tax would help out our state tremendously. After all the goal is to regulate these items similarly right, 21 plus, etc.


  66. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===Madigan has never said definitively that he would allow it===

    That’s probably more about contributions. His members want it. There’s a bipartisan majority no matter what Durkin says. All the proponents have needed is a governor who would sign the bill.


  67. - Winderweezle - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    Legal weed will solve the ensign funding crisis in similar fashion to how lottery proceeds cured education funding woes.

    Legal weed won’t really reduce incarceration of weed offenders. Weed users don’t make it to IDOC. Weed distributors do. Those large transactions will still be black market, not subject to taxation and will still be illegal this time next year. Worse yet, the minor weed offenses will no longer exist so prosecutors won’t be as easily able to make plea agreements.

    I am hopeful overall progress will be made. I want the best for my state and it’s residents. Merely legalizing weed is far from the end of this story. But at least it will be interesting.


  68. - RNUG - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:55 pm:

    - Facts Matter -

    Thanks. Never followed it because weed just gives me bronchitis; learned that as a teenager. Part of the rest I don’t smoke anything, period. Heck, when I found a large bundle under the dash in a used van I had just bought, I gave it to my brother-in-law at the time.


  69. - Winderweezle - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Pension not ensign


  70. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    ===That’s an interesting theory. Is there any data to back it up?===

    I’m too lazy to research but data such as that would probably be anectdotal. My point is simply that with CO’s population explosion, the logical assumption is that pot use within the state would increase as well. And given the fact that legalization was the primary reason for some people to move there, that increase may be disproportionate.

    A better barometer would be to study how many non-users became users after legalization. But I agree that the factors you listed will likely lead to an overall increase in usage. Unless it’s legalized on a national level, it’s tough to accurately measure the increase in usage. The data is skewed by looking at states individually.


  71. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    I have a very important question:

    “Oh, have you ever met that funny reefer man? (reefer man!)
    Have you ever met that funny reefer man? (reefer man!)
    If he said he swam to China, and he sell you South Carolina
    Then you know your talkin to that reefer man”

    It’s about time adults are liberated on this. If we can buy carloads of deadly booze, who’s to tell us we can’t buy smaller amounts of something much less harmful?


  72. - SW - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    The policy decision regarding the legalization of cannabis should not be based on revenues alone. There are a lot of things we could legalize, tax and make money. Do we want cannabis made widely available? I could obtain alcohol and cigarettes when I was 16, although the legal age was 21. Persons under 16 will obtain cannabis; they can now. It will simply be more widely available. Will accidents go up? Yes. Evidence from Colorado seems to support this conclusion. I am not opposed to cannabis. But to think this will not become a big industry controlled by big money is wishful thinking. And their goal has always been to increase sales and lessen competition. Can you say beer distributors? As for tax revenue, unless it is dedicated to specific items — pensions and infrastructure — it will get lost in the soup. The big question I have is, do we really want a nation of stoners? I do not oppose cannabis but that is the question I am grappling with? On the one hand we have people trying to ban flavored juice for vaping because young kids are increasingly vaping instead of smoking and on the other hand we want to legalize cannabis. Go figure.


  73. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===Weed users don’t make it to IDOC===

    Sure they do. Maybe not first time offenders but repeat offenders can and do find their way to IDOC. Additionally, anyone who tests positive while on probation/parole can be incarcerated. If it’s legalized, it will be interesting to see how the courts view it with regard to ex-offenders.


  74. - SSL - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    This is all but done, and why not. How people chose to spend their free time isn’t a big concern of mine. Plus, those that are stoned will lack the initiative to move out of state. A real win win.

    Let’s get going on expanding gambling while were at it. Turn the race tracks into full blown casinos, and build a mega casino downtown. Put in a nice casino at O’Hare while you’re at it to take advantage of all the travelers. Get going on sports betting as well. I can hear the cash registers ringing.

    Let people pay for their vices so income, sales, property and gas taxes don’t get jacked up.

    Sound about right?


  75. - In 630 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    I would add that I’d want to see THC levels regulated. I think a lot of the difference between current pot and the old stuff with mellower highs is the much higher THC.


  76. - Blue Dog Dem - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:57 pm:

    I may have gotten bad numbers. So someone correct me if I am wrong. It appears California is on pace to collect around $290 million in various pot related taxes this year. Can we assume Illinois will do half that amount. $140 million will definitely help that’s for sure. And if we can mothball one prison as a result of legalization that may save another $50 million. I like it.


  77. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    Ya’ll are spinning your wheels trying to come up with great, logical reasons to oppose this.

    80 percent of IL voters under 50 believe pot should be legal. 70 percent of IL suburban voters believe it should be legal.

    A decent majority of downstate voters, even a majority of voters over 65 believes pot should be legal.

    As soon as they have a bill number, proponents should start targeting GOP lawmakers with social media ads, urging citizens to call their rep and ask them to vote Yes.

    I bet they flip more than half of the GOP caucus pretty easily.


  78. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    In630- You cannot overdose on cannabis. Higher THC levels just means you can lose less with the desire effect. Should we ban all alcohol besides beer?


  79. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    “use less”


  80. - anon2 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    === So do you have an issue with adults using cannabis? ===

    I think there is a public health and safety interest in whether use goes up significantly. Others may find it a matter of indifference if a rising proportion of the population becomes dependent.

    I favor lifting prohibition, but regulating cannabis the way we currently regulate cigarettes. The smoking rate has declined significantly, even though cigarettes are legal. But taxes have gone up, as have restrictions on advertising and on when and where smokers can light up. It demonstrates that when the goal of regulators is public health and safety, not maximizing profits and revenues, that legalization need not lead to more use.

    The alcohol model, by contrast, all but guarantees increased use.


  81. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    Marijuana prohibition was racist to begin with. The racism has continued, with legal harm done disproportionately to people of color. Good on Pritzker and any Republican, Democrat and person of any political persuasion who supports ending this harm.


  82. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===regulating cannabis the way we currently regulate cigarettes. The smoking rate has declined significantly===

    That is a not-smart analysis. There is no current underground market for illegally-grown tobacco. If you tax weed too high, people will just stay with the underground market. The idea is to destroy the illegal markets, much like the end of Prohibition did to the outfit’s control of the alcohol market.

    And even if the Prohibition model increases marijuana use, so what? Why is that your business?


  83. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    Even with Madigan allowing it, there are probably a lot of collateral issues, driving while high, criminal records, regulating the product, licensing that could be moderately challenging for proponents.


  84. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    Anon2 - Couple of points to your argument. 1) Cannabis is not tobacco. You do not get cancer from it like tobacco. So comparing the two is not accurate. Cannabis is also safer then alcohol. Alcohol is not going away so cannabis is a safer alternative. Furthermore, if adults want to consume cannabis, they have a right to do so. Just like eating ice cream or pizza or red meat.


  85. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    Big Booze or Big Tobacco could try to flood the GA with tons of money to prevent legalization.


  86. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    -And even if the Prohibition model increases marijuana use, so what? Why is that your business?-

    Exactly. It’s called freedom.


  87. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    The ‘increased use’ argument assumes bad things will happen when one uses. There are lots of people who use responsibly just as there are with alcohol. We should want more people to partake. More use equals more tax revenue.


  88. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    ==LHM - Do you not see the national trend. Michigan is very close to Chicago. This is not hard.==

    LOL. Yeah man, because like, proximity equates to legislative victory and stuff. We get it, dude, you’re a big fan of weed - thanks for volunteering as the promotionalist in a church full of converts.

    ==That’s probably more about contributions.==

    Hopefully you’re right, Rich. I think we’d all like to see this become law, but I’m leery of counting on it until Pritzker has the bill (and the requisite 15 different pens) on his desk


  89. - Illinois Resident - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    LHM - Not just me. 2/3 of our state wants this.


  90. - A Jack - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 2:56 pm:

    Soybean tariffs will likely hurt our farmers. Marijuana could be an alternative crop to help them. They should open up growing and ship the excess across Lake Michigan to Michigan and then Canada. We have a longer growing season and better soil, and should use that to our advantage. Sure The Feds might complain, but they are pretty busy worrying about immigrant caravans right now.


  91. - Hysteria - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    Someone mentioned that marijuana use is significantly more dangerous than alcohol for a developing brain, and legalizing it makes it more likely that teenagers are going to use it. Also, yes, they learn not to drink and drive, but there isn’t as much talk about not getting high and driving. My daughter saw that just a couple of weekends ago when she offered to drive a couple of kids home who were high, and they said they didn’t drink, they just smoked pot, so they were fine. Meanwhile, no one would get in a car with someone who was drunk. Education about the dangers of smoking pot and driving has to go way up. As the mother of three teenagers, I think this is a horrible idea, but I know I just don’t know anything according to anyone on here, because marijuana use is so great and has no adverse consequences, so let’s all go about our day high, but I do hope some of you have young children or grandchildren and can appreciate that legalizing pot maybe isn’t the best thing for developing teenagers.


  92. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===legalizing it makes it more likely that teenagers are going to use it===

    Teenagers can easily buy pot now because illegal dealers don’t check ID’s. Legal dispensaries do, however.


  93. - gdubya - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:20 pm:

    TOURIST DESTINATION


  94. - Hysteria - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    It’s not whether or not they can easily buy it. It’s that it’s not socially acceptable. Smoking isn’t socially acceptable, so the kids have turned to vaping. Once marijuana is legalized, it becomes socially acceptable, so use increases because you’re no longer considered a loser pothead if you’re high. And I really don’t think that making pot acceptable to teenagers is in our best interests as a society.


  95. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    Hysteria-
    Again, are these kids you refer to smoking pot now or are they not? Legalizing it will make it safer for kids, not the other way around. It will still be illegal for kids and better regulated than it is now. If a kid wants to buy weed they are going to whether it’s legal or not. In the end, it comes down to parenting, education, and lots of prayers.


  96. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    ===Smoking isn’t socially acceptable===

    And yet, it’s legal.


  97. - Hysteria - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    Cubs - Very few kids that my kids know do use it, so I’m concerned about use increasing. My point is that if it’s legal, it becomes socially acceptable, and then more try it. And as someone pointed out above, studies show that it’s worse on the developing brain than alcohol. I agree that it comes down to parenting and education, but I live in a community where the kids go through DARE in 6th grade, and most parents tell their kids not to drink, but they still do it starting as young as 8th grade. When society says that smoking pot is acceptable, it’ll lead more kids to try it.


  98. - Hysteria - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    At one time, smoking was socially acceptable, as we all know. It took years for that to not be the case. So maybe a generation from now smoking pot won’t be socially acceptable? I have teenagers now, so I’m not ready to wait that long.


  99. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    Most teenagers I know don’t use what adults consider to be social acceptable as their barometer. lol

    Legalization may lead to increased experimentation by teens but hopefully, with the proper educational and abstinence programs in place, it will remain uncool to be a pothead.


  100. - Alex Ander - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    If you oppose this but support all these video gaming casinos then you need to have your head examined. Gambling addictions destroy families much worse than marijuana usage.


  101. - Winderweezle - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===regulating cannabis the way we currently regulate cigarettes. The smoking rate has declined significantly===

    Regulating tobacco the way that we do has resulted in illegal tobacco smuggling. Criminals pay .17 cents per pack in Missouri, haul them by the van load to Chicago where the tax is $1.98 per pack. On the east coast, it’s Virginia, .30 cents per pack to NY, $4.35 per pack or Pennsylvania, $2.60 per pack.

    The state Department of Revenue and the federal government has an interest in collecting that tax and back up that interest with prison sentences. Next up, Canada. Smuggling liquor and tobacco into Canada is a felony. They will put you in prison for it. This is why Rich’s comment about cannabis tax revenue is so significant.

    It is hard for people to understand that making cannabis legal doesn’t solve the black market crime problem. We are going to do this cannabis thing in Illinois. There is no stopping it. But maybe if we are thoughtful about it and respect the fact that there will be minuses with the pluses, we can limit the criminal influences.


  102. - Anon1234 - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    Talking to my high school kids, their first thought was how it will increase college applications for Illinois schools. Another benefit for our state.


  103. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Thomas Paine @ 11:21 am- “A vote against legalizing marijuana is essentially a vote to keep tens of thousands of Illinoisans from exercising their Second Amendment rights.” As far as I know, the problem is that you have to sign the federal form 4473 to buy a gun, and pot use is still a disqualifier if you admit it.

    Regarding legalization, there is still “ditch weed” hemp plants around their farms, so pot will grow well in Illinois all the way up to the Wisconsin border. I believe it was brought in to provide rope for WWI. Legalization and growing could be a real cash cow.


  104. - JoeMaddon - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    **Weed tax money has been sold as a panacea to all of our budget woes**

    Huh? By who?


  105. - JoeMaddon - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:13 pm:

    **this exactly the type of bill he’d stick in rules committee just because he doesn’t want someone like Yednock to have to take a tough vote. **

    It’s not a tough vote. It’s overwhelmingly popular.


  106. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    For a lot of drug dealers, pot is a loss leader. Because it’s bulky and is easily detectable by odor, it’s a high risk drug to transport and distribute. But drug dealers take the risk because it provides them with potential buyers for much harder drugs that area easier to conceal, transport and distribute.

    So while there will always be handwringing that pot leads to harder drugs, the reality is that once you cut off drug dealers main draw by legalizing pot, you’ll also reduce the number of kids exposed to harder drugs.


  107. - Winderweezle - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    Cannabis is not a rowcrop you can throw in your back 40. It is best grown indoors under strict environmental controls. One reason is that commonly available hemp ruins your kush crop.

    One of the problems with this whole discussion is the complete lack of understanding of how this industry works. I’m no expert but have at least some understanding of it. There is a comment above about “big alcohol” opposing cannabis. Negative on that. Stern Beverage, a AB distributor, (which is like owning a license to print money), was an early adopter.


  108. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    JoeMaddon is correct. He stops that bill and he’s gonna have real trouble in his caucus and he avoids that like the plague.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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