* Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) told me earlier this week that he would wait and see the cannabis legalization bill before deciding what to do. Barickman has said in the past that he viewed legalization as inevitable and wanted to work on a compromise. But for now he’s off…
Barickman said the governor “very controversially” proposed to expunge offenses that remain illegal even after legalization. In the proposal, it would be legal to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis but offenses for up to 500 grams would be eligible for expungement.
State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said that doesn’t really paint a clear picture, because while legal possession is up to 30 grams, dispensaries will be allowed to possess cannabis in much greater quantities. […]
Barickman also took issue with the way the revenue from the program would be allocated, specifically with the creation of a new grant that would be eligible to communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. Twenty-five percent of revenues from the recreational program would fund this grant. […]
Barickman said he was “supportive of the initiative” but felt the money could be better spent paying down Illinois’ bill backlog. […]
[Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell] said he believed that characterization to be “inaccurate.” In fact, he said the 10 percent of funding going toward the bill backlog was a Republican request. Mitchell said the way the tax structure is written is the result of a bipartisan effort.
“This is not a final product and the Governor’s Office is very open to negotiations,” said Mitchell. “But there are other voices that matter in this other than the Republican caucus.”
You can’t get enough Democratic votes without expungement.
* But Mitchell is right that this is not a final product. I’m expecting to see a new draft in the next day or so…
[Sen. Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Olympia Fields] predicted there may be a compromise on home-grown plants, for instance to allow them only for patients with medical marijuana licenses.
But she was adamant about expungement of lower level marijuana crimes, saying, “People in suits will make millions of dollars off selling cannabis, while people are sitting in jail for the exact same activity? That’s fundamentally wrong.”
Not happy with the home grow change, but the object here is 60-30-signature.