* Background is here if you need it. From Illinois Public Radio…
As Illinois explores the possibility of legalizing cannabis for recreational use, the state’s six Catholic bishops say they’re urging lawmakers to say “no.” […]
Advocates for legalization argue, hundreds of thousands of people already use cannabis and a state-run program will make the products safer and shrink the black market. They also propose using some of the tax dollars for education campaigns to let the public, and especially youth, aware of the potential dangers of the drug.
But [Bob Gilligan, the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois] asked, if this is the case, then why legalize?
“If the legislature has to use revenue to support programs to urge people not to use marijuana, or if they use it, how to get off it, it begs the question as to why are we doing this at all.”
So, he doesn’t want to fund programs to help people avoid drug abuse? I don’t get it.
* Pritzker response…
Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, said in an email statement that the governor remains committed to legalization.
“Governor Pritzker supports legalizing and taxing the recreational use of marijuana and is confident we are ready to do this in a safe and economically beneficial way in Illinois,” Abudayyeh said. “He is committed to working with leaders in the General Assembly, listening to experts and community leaders, and drawing lessons and best practices from other states to move this forward.”
* By far the best comeback is in Robert McCoppin’s Tribune story…
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference, noted that cannabis impairs memory, coordination and judgment, and that the state will be profiting off an addictive substance.
The bishops only occasionally take stands on public issues, such as against abortion and the death penalty. In this case, Gilligan will be speaking out against legalization at upcoming public hearings in Springfield. […]
Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the pro-cannabis group NORML, and general manager of Maribis medical marijuana dispensaries in Chicago and Springfield, said marijuana has proved safer than alcohol, and that prohibition simply doesn’t work. By overseeing legal marijuana sales, he said, the state will have a much greater ability to regulate it.
“Cannabis is a natural substance,” he said. “God put it on this planet for a reason. I don’t know why the bishops are concerned about undermining God’s credibility.”
* Lawmakers address hot topics at town hall: “I’m going to vote no on recreational marijuana and it doesn’t matter what the legislation looks like,” Bryant said.