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Cannabis legalization details emerge

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019

* Sun-Times on the cannabis legalization bill

Under the legislation, which is being backed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, misdemeanor pot convictions would be expunged, people with cannabis convictions would be allowed to work in the industry and diversity hiring goals would be set for firms in the industry.

Additionally, [sponsoring Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago] said, the legislation would provide support for minority-owned businesses by offering technical assistance, as well as access to capital, loans and relief from fees that have posed a barrier to entry for smaller businesses. To further crack that barrier, the measure would also create new cannabis licensing categories for “craft” grow operations and companies that process and transport the drug.

“I’ve said for a long time that other states that have tried this have tended to try with a solution, but that presumes there’s a singular barrier to minority engagement in the industry,” Cassidy said. “And that’s simply not the case. These conversations have been about the best way to set up sort of a buffet of responses to the array of problems.” […]

“The proposal that I’ve seen has some really good language in it and now it’s just the part of fine-tuning and making sure that advocates remain in support and removing as much opposition as you can,” said [Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, the chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus], who couldn’t say whether any members of the black caucus are opposed to the legalization plan.

* Politico

Concerns center on ensuring that minority business owners have a stake in the industry and making sure new money generated is channeled to communities that have historically suffered from the impact of drug abuse. Another flashpoint in the process is potentially expunging criminal records for offenders found guilty of possessing or selling marijuana prior to legalization. These are largely the same issues that tanked New Jersey’s plan last month to approve recreational marijuana, and that New York lawmakers are still debating. […]

The Black Caucus is in regular discussions with the governor’s office and lawmakers carrying the measure. “We’d like to create model legislation for the nation,” [Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago] said. “We want the strongest social equity program in the country and to be the most progressive on criminal justice reform issues.”

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy tells POLITICO that the concerns of the Black Caucus “have been part of our discussion from day one.” The Chicago Democrat is pressing legalization in the Assembly while state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) pushes for it in other chamber. Cassidy says that nationwide, the recreational marijuana industry is only 4 percent minority-held. “No state has gotten this right so far. We want to get it right.”

* Jaclyn Driscoll

As political negotiations on recreational marijuana continue, one prominent group, has not yet taken a stance: the Legislative Black Caucus. These are the African-American lawmakers in the Illinois House and Senate.

They are involved in the talks, though, according to state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Peoria Democrat and leader in the caucus.

“Any adult-use bill has to have specific consideration as it relates to restoring some of the harm that was done during the war on drugs to communities of color,” she said. “There should be ownership of people of color in this space.” […]

“We don’t want an adult-use program to look like the medical program which essentially is completely and wholly owned by rich people and none of them are people of color,” Gordon-Booth said.


* More from Driscoll

Reporter: I understand this is a massive piece of legislation, but if there was one goal in passing recreational cannabis, what is it?

Cassidy: I’ve said this before. I want to pass the gold standard for cannabis legislation that the rest of the country can follow. That means a model that taxes at a level that allows the industry to grow, that allows patients and users access in a way that gets them into the legal markets, that creates an industry and allows an industry to grow that looks like the state of Illinois, that looks like communties we come from.

Lots more in that interview, including home-grow info, so click here.

* Can it pass?

“This is a nearly 300 page pieces of legislation,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who has been working on the issue for more than two years. “We want to make sure we’ve dotted all of the “I’s” and crossed all of the “t’s”.

There are potential hang-ups as the bill works its way through the legislature. Rep. Martin Moylan, D-Des Plaines, is sponsoring a resolution co-signed by 59 other House members of both parties to slow down the process of legalization. Cassidy scoffs at the need to slow down the process.

“This has been the most deliberative process I’ve seen on anything this big,” Cassidy said. “Sen. (Heather) Steans and I have been working on this for over two years. Dozens of town halls, multiple public hearings, hundreds of stakeholder meetings. There’s nothing rushed about this.” […]

“I think in the House, (legalization) is going to garner serious opposition,” [Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield] said. “I think it is going to be very difficult to get 60 votes in the House right now.”

* Leader Harris disagrees

House Majority Leader Gregory Harris of Chicago said he thinks a legalization bill has enough support to pass.

“I’m told it does. I’m not counting votes on it, understanding this is a topic where there can be strong opinions on both sides,” he said. “I think members are going to be very carefully taking the temperature of their district. But if you look around the country, this is where the trend is going.”

* And Rep. Moylan’s blatant insult of his colleagues isn’t doing his cause any good

“The proponents are trying to pull a con game on the state of Illinois,” [Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines] said Thursday. “I have almost more than 60 people who’ve signed on is because nobody else’s talking about what the harmful effects are.” Moylan said he’s been talking to nurses and law enforcement officials “on the ground” in states that have legalized recreational use to help gather information.

* Related…

* Analysis: How legal recreational marijuana works in other states

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    –Additionally, [sponsoring Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago] said, the legislation would provide support for minority-owned businesses by offering technical assistance, as well as access to capital, loans and relief from fees that have posed a barrier to entry for smaller businesses. –

    How will the state be providing “access to capital” and loans?

    –Moylan said he’s been talking to nurses and law enforcement officials “on the ground” in states that have legalized recreational use to help gather information.–

    Sure you have, Rauner-style.

  2. - RIJ - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Any legislator who is against legal marijuana on health and safety terms should be for alcohol prohibition as well. Alcohol is far more dangerous to health and safety than marijuana.

  3. - Tony Kendall - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    This really should be easier than this.

  4. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    I’m just going to leave this quote right here:

    “I have almost more than 60 people who’ve signed on is because nobody else’s talking about what the harmful effects are”


  5. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    If californias latest tax revenue data can be extrapolated down based on population, illinois looks to gain about $130 million per year. A nice down payment on pension obligations.

  6. - Jocko - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    If Moylan can give me the name of ONE nurse he’s spoken to (that’s not connected to his family or office)…I will eat my hat.

  7. - Kayak - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    Some wish for a repeal the Cannabis Control Act. Others promote jail time for possession. Based on the information provided so far, Cassidy and Steans Bill is reasonable middle ground and should be passed without delay.

  8. - Phil King - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    Hard to encourage minority participation when the Gov wants to sell licenses for $100k a piece. On average minority business owners have a lot less capital, so this disproportionately impacts them.

    But that’s what happens when you want legalization as a revenue generating scheme rather than simply because its the right thing to do.

  9. - anon2 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    If there was any doubt, Rep. Moylan makes clear his opposition to legalization. I suspect the majority of voters in his district, in particular Democratic primary voters, favor legalization.

  10. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    Anon at 12:08 it’s still a federal crime so my guess is the majority of the smoking will be going on inside other people’s homes.

  11. - David - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    I have back pain, I have jaw pain, I have neck pain, and pain is something all Americans go through at some point in their life. It is true we have CBD that acts on the Endocannabinoid system, but so does marijuana. It has been used for thousands of years. It wasn’t frowned upon until Harry Anslinger spent 32 years jailing those of color. If I recall past history it was the Mexican immigration crisis in the early 1900s that caused the marijuana tax act to be brought up to show the immigrants they are not welcomed. If people can get 7 day prescriptions for opioids why cant they do the same for marijuana. Urge the republicans and democrats who are against this to realize they are hurting us more than helping.If they truly are afraid of big bad marijuana like Anslinger who even said Frankenstein would drop dead of fear for marijuana;then, use the tax money to create classes to educate people on marijuana use. Let Illinois show the US, no the world how we do it here properly.Dosing marijuana, mixing it with CBD etccc and for the extreme minority who become addicted( which I have serious issues with these claims from biased sources) then rehab centers are a great solution. Legalize the green it is a disgrace we are still debating this.

  12. - PJ - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    =Am I going to be forced to stay inside not to smell pot?=

    Do you need other people to do your reading for you? Since the first draft of their bill like 2 years ago outdoor smoking has been banned. There’s never even been a discussion of allowing it.

  13. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    Am I going to be forced to stay inside not to smell pot? - Anonymous

    Yes…of course…or… the Odor free Bubble is available at a reasonable cost.

  14. - XonXoff - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    I realize we all want to see the actual bill but this will need to move quickly now. If you’re not contacting those who will be voting on this to make them aware of your opinion(s), in detail, right now, you’re not going to effect any change.

  15. - Unle Ernie - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    Rich, did you see this article on
    “Illinois now accepting applications for farmers to grow hemp” ?

  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    “Concerns center on ensuring that minority business owners have a stake in the industry and making sure new money generated is channeled to communities that have historically suffered from the impact of drug abuse.”

    It’s equally (if not more so) about resourcing communities that have historically suffered from the impact of the war on drugs. Disparate policing and subsequent incarceration rates have left many of those communities devastated.

  17. - illinoisman - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 8:19 pm:

    60 craft licenses at 3ksqft and the med licensees get a 2 year monopoly. Prepare for high prices and shortages for med patients.

  18. - Moylan's Right - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 9:40 pm:

    Marty Moylan is right. The sponsors have pushed this through without regard to any health and safety concerns. How many people here have even researched the issue? That’s what I thougt

  19. - LoyalVirus - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 8:43 am:

    -Moylan’s Right- the sponsors and supporters of legalization have worked more than 2 years (not “almost more than” as Marty likes to count) literally talking to people on the ground in states that have legalized. About myriad topics - including health and safety. Dozens of town hall meetings, hearings in the house & senate, editorial board meetings - not the actions of people trying to “push” anything through w/out thought. *We* don’t have to research the issue because *they’ve* been doing their jobs. And not utilizing junk science or misleading statistics. And for the record, I believe a poll was taken in his district & it showed higher approval of legalization than for Rep Moylan. Someone has a sad.

  20. - Andrew from Grandview - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    I have waited nearly 20 years to not feel oppressed while smoking cannabis. It’s the only thing that conquered my alcoholism and I see/feel positive effects everyday. Anyone please let me know how I can help push this through, show me the opposition

  21. - Mcview 420 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    No… Moylan is wrong. Representative Cassidy is right. This has been worked on for 2 and a half years now. Look if he can’t read or has not been paying attention then he should not be down in Springfield. If he wants to become a Republican then he should have changed parties 4 years ago. He should listen to his colleagues and maybe one of them could read to him so that he might understand why the time is now to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois. We will be watching and taking names on the no voters for the next election.

  22. - Dan B - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 7:43 pm:

    Have the State own the P

  23. - Dan B - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 7:56 pm:

    I have a better idea Let the dispensaries be private or run by the State. Where as the Senior’s and disabled grow the weed and sell it at the dispensary. The Dispensary would then buy it from the Seniors and there Medicare and Supplemental insurance would also be deducted. The remainder of the money would be taxed and classes would be provided and growers with a tracking chip be inside. If a senior get caught selling on the black market a fine would be in posed. A growing license would be reguired. The dispensary could still tax the people who buy the weed thus saving millions on Medicare and medicated.Feel free to contact me for detales

  24. - sober_Burrito - Thursday, May 2, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    SB0007 is supposed to be discussed today. Does anybody have a link to the livestream?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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