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Cannabis roundup

Thursday, May 23, 2019

* Licensed, regulated and significantly taxed cannabis growing facilities will not have machetes, caches of illegally possessed guns, kilograms of cocaine and Chicago street gang diamond jewelry

Rachad “Baller” Lucas, 38, of Calumet City, is accused of manufacturing, storing and distributing controlled substances, namely a mixture containing marijuana, in a storage unit in Calumet City, according to the Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lucas has also been charged with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and illegally possessing a handgun as a felon.

A total of 11 people were charged, including a mother, Harriette McPherson, 46, of Chicago, and her two sons, 19-year-old Sincere Brannon and 26-year-old Rakim Asad. Brannon is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Authorities seized 29 firearms, ammunition, a machete, a kilogram of cocaine, 78 pounds of marijuana and $190,000 in suspected illicit cash. In addition, diamond jewelry, Rolex watches and designer clothing appraised at more than $300,000 was also collected. Police also seized two necklaces with the initials, “LAFA” written in diamonds, referring to a Chicago street gang, from Asad.

* Subtlety is not Jim’s strong point

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has said he believes the expungement portion is only included as “an enticement” to get “certain caucuses” to support the legislation. On WILL’s radio show, The 21st, Durkin said: “People who deal with drugs and people who have destroyed neighborhoods, should be given the opportunity to have this expungement … for the purposes of putting them back into the legal trade, doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not right.”

The Legislative Black Caucus has openly advocated for social equity and criminal justice reforms to be included, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also said this was one of his primary reasons for legalization.

“Certain caucuses” represent “certain neighborhoods” that have borne the brunt of the war on drugs and those “certain caucuses” disagree with the former prosecutor who, no offense, lives in a safe leafy suburb. The bangers in the first story on this post are the types of people who have destroyed “certain” neighborhoods. But they wouldn’t be eligible for expungement, so they wouldn’t be getting licenses.

* Illinois Public Radio

Earlier in May when language for Illinois’ recreational cannabis proposal was unveiled, it was Gov. J.B. Pritzker who stole the headlines, receiving much of the credit. While it’s his signature that will ultimately appear on any proposal passed by the legislature, it was four female lawmakers who chose to embark on the difficult path to legalization years ago.

State Sens. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) as well as state Reps. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said this yearslong and statewide effort has taught them a lot, but it mostly reinforced their friendship with each other.

Good stuff in there, so try to read it all.

* Related…

* Illinois Marijuana Legislation Update: Senate Bill Would Protect Employers’ Rights

* Medical marijuana use in workers comp looms: In Illinois, the state’s opioid alternative pilot program, which took effect about three months ago, allows individuals who otherwise would be prescribed opioids to opt for a prescription for marijuana to be filled at a dispensary. Mr. Unruh said the pilot also set up a marijuana tracking system to collect data on the risks and benefits to allow for informed public policy decisions in the future.

* Jacksonville explores legal-pot issues, opportunities

- Posted by Rich Miller        

45 Comments
  1. - Almost the weekend - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    In regards to the Calumet story I guess that’s what they mean by JB hurting family owned businesses.


  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    Maybe you covered this and I missed it, but Lynn Sweet visited a dispensary in CA and wrote an incredibly detailed description of what we might expect in a legal marijuana Illinois someday.

    Unlike Maureen Dowd in Colorado, Sweet had a great experience (although she did not partake). No machetes, no other drugs. Like an Apple Store with more hipsters.


  3. - Earnest Not Borgnine - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    I’m curious what Mr. Durkin’s argument is for not removing those charges from people’s records?


  4. - charles in charge - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    ==I’m curious what Mr. Durkin’s argument is for not removing those charges from people’s records?==

    You mean “it’s not right” isn’t good enough for you?


  5. - Concerned Citizen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    The NPR piece is very warm and fuzzy considering their bill is a multi-billion dollar giveaway to the insiders who got medical licenses.


  6. - LTSW - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    That paragraph in the linked story highlighting the $190 K in cash and $300K in jewelry being confiscated is key to some of the opposition to legalization. Some folks like asset forfeiture. My Facebook news feed had an advert opposing legalization earlier this week. Not one of the 200 comments posted was in agreement. I haven’t partaken in many years but this legalization effort is 20 years past due.


  7. - LetsLegalizeIt - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    == I’m curious what Mr. Durkin’s argument is for not removing those charges from people’s records? ==

    It’s in the article, but he says that we shouldn’t be expunging criminal records up to 500 grams if that’s not going to be legal under the new law, either. It sort of makes sense. I can tell you that 500 grams is A LOT. I’m not even sure even a dealer would have that readily on hand.

    My predict is that they’ll jettison home grow and possibly lower the expungement ceiling. I don’t think republicans will be voting for this, so they should focus on solidifying the democrat vote. I’m not sure what modifying expungement will do - it could turn some democrats off. A lot of people on both sides have taken all-or-nothing stances on this and it’s incredibly frustrating as they’re prepared to leave this a CRIME rather than be able to grow at home, for example.


  8. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    This shouldn’t be difficult

    Expunge marijuana possession records? Yup
    Expunge the following? Nope

    == possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and illegally possessing a handgun as a felon ==


  9. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    As a lawyer and former prosecutor, Durkin must certainly be aware that “certain defendants” from “certain leafy suburbs” with “certain economic status” never reach the point in the criminal justice process in which they would need expungement, because they have “certain amounts of money” to hire “certain attorneys” to achieve “certain positive results.”

    C’mon, man. This dog-whistling from your crew has to stop. Don’t feed that fever. Be a true leader.


  10. - Powdered Whig - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    I haven’t seen what the current proposed language is on expungement. Has anything been circulated publicly?


  11. - Jocko - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    ==People who deal with drugs and people who have destroyed neighborhoods==

    To his credit, Jim didn’t say “those people”…as well as refraining from the use of air quotes and a knowing glance. /s


  12. - Earnest Not Borgnine - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    I understand the desire for parity between what will is being proposed for adult use and what someone may receive an expungement for. It simplifies things.

    It also appears to imply that the line between a legal business that sits on multiple pounds of product produced by many individuals and an illegal enterprise that may sit on a pound or so of product produced by an individual is so indelible goes beyond what is legal and what is not.

    If it wasn’t for people doing business illegally, there wouldn’t be a cannabis market to legally regulate. Seems arbitrary to put a number on how many grams were possessed that would affect a person’s ability to participate in this legal business.


  13. - XonXoff - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    – …a multi-billion dollar giveaway to the insiders who got medical licenses. –

    Not sure it’s a multi-”billion” giveaway, maybe, but Althoff and MCAI have seemingly been very quiet since they got things sorted their way.

    Close, and stop talking. I’m compelled to give credit where it’s due.


  14. - A Jack - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    Dud Lucas have a revoked FOID card?


  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===up to 500 grams if that’s not going to be legal under the new law===

    It sure as heck is going to be legal for dispensaries and grow centers to have that much cannabis on hand.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    “I don’t think republicans will be voting for this”

    I assumed before that some Republicans would be attracted to saving tax dollars by not arresting and jailing people for low-level marijuana offenses, and would be attracted to job creation and legal sales revenue. I guess I was pretty mistaken.


  17. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    Jacksonville in the 19th century and early 20th century was a center for cigar manufacturing. My husband’s great grandfather came from Switzerland in 1881 and became co-owner of the McCarthy-Gebert cigar factory in Jacksonville. Interesting article about the history here:

    https://www.myjournalcourier.com/news/article/Smoke-signals-12652691.php


  18. - Rabid - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    The GOP does not see the damage from the war on drugs, just the damaged neighborhoods


  19. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    The black market exists because of prohibition. Supply and demand. We are much safer when this industry is above board. It’s frustrating that it took us this long to start talking about reversing this horrible policy. Thankfully times are changing.


  20. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    I have been to dispensaries in Colorado. Very nice and upscale. No violence. No guns. You know what you are buying. The state gets revenue. How can anyone think that our current policy is working for anyone?


  21. - Just Observing - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    If homegrown is such a sticking point — pass this damn thing without homegrown (or a lower threshold) and deal with the homegrown issue next session.


  22. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    Comical when some people argue that there is still a black market in Colorado after legalization. Maybe the main reason is because a bunch of states surrounding Colorado still have cannabis prohibition? Common sense folks.


  23. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Just Observing - Agree, but there are a lot of people that think home grow will never happen if it does not happen now and they could be right. Said that, legalization without home grow is better then nothing at all.


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    ===will never happen if it does not happen now and they could be right===

    Since when does that sort of thing ever happen? People who make this argument are either fools or have no concept about how governing works.

    This is following an arc: Medical, decrim, legalization. More will eventually come, just as it has in other states, just as it did with gay rights: Public accommodations, civil unions, marriage.

    Stop listening to idiots.


  25. - Kentucky Bluegrass x Featherbed Bent x Northern California Sinsemilla - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    ==Since when does that sort of thing ever happen?==

    Washington State is still doesn’t allow homegrow despite legalization passing the ballot in 2012. Any homegrow in Washington is a felony. A reasonable compromise would be to lower the 1-5 plant penalty to the $100 civil infraction and each threshold above down a notch.


  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    – but there are a lot of people that think home grow will never happen if it does not happen now and they could be right.–

    “Never” is not a reasonable concept in lawmaking. Nothing is truly ever “settled forever.” Take a quick look around and you’ll find all sorts of examples.


  27. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    I’d add, those who are dug-in on “home grow or nothing” position are on the same side of the “nothing” proponents. You’re doing their work for them.


  28. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Rich - I just don’t see politicians fighting real hard for home grow. They certainly are not now and once it is available for store purchase, this will then be a hot topic for them in future sessions? Cannabis stores will be against it, state revenue proponents will be against it, law enforcement will be against it. Who actually fights for the common person on this issue in a state that does not have a ballot referendum option? I hope it happens relatively soon but I would not be shocked if in 10 years it still has not happened in our state.


  29. - Elmer Keith - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    “I assumed before that some Republicans would be attracted to saving tax dollars by not arresting and jailing people for low-level marijuana offenses…” Are you serious? A large number of “law and order” legislators from both parties are totally in the pocket of police unions, you just don’t see it reported on TeeVee, but the swarm of cop/prison lobbyists are roaming the halls and writing their legislation.

    That’s what happened in Brandon Phelps concealed carry bill, it was written by/for police unions, most of whom opposed any form of citizen carry for fifty years. I’m waiting for Richard Pearson from ISRA to announce in one of his bloviating press releases that he is funding a lawsuit for a black gun owner from Chicago with a minor pot charge who is being denied his “fundamental right” to get a FOID. Actually the record proves that NRA & ISRA only use black people like Otis McDonald as fronts for lawsuits, then sell them out in the bills.


  30. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    Wordslinger - For some people, 10 or 20 years is never. None of us live forever.


  31. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    Again, anyone who reads my post’s recognizes that I am for any and all cannabis legalization. With or without home grow. But I am skeptical that home grow will be a priority anytime soon if it does not pass with the original legalization. A poster brought up Washington and I think that is a good example.


  32. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    -in favor-


  33. - Powdered Whig - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    === Who actually fights for the common person on this issue ===

    Maybe I am out of touch regarding this issue, but would the “common person” really be interested in home growing marijuana plants when they can just get some from the store?


  34. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    I agree that legalization shouldn’t be killed if it doesn’t have home grow. That would be cutting off the face (massive statewide reform) to spite the nose (five-plant home grow).


  35. - hey oh - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    again, it seemed very interesting old JB put his name on the homegrow issue. My thoughts. they knew they didn’t have a chance with homegrow so they put it on the bill knowing they would need to concede. he came out in support of it so we didn’t think he was failing. I just hope they don’t nix it entirely, has anyone seen anything about what the actual proposal now sates or are we still waiting?


  36. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    Powdered Whig - Some common people would obviously. It’s just like brewing beer, some like it as a hobby. Particularly when the government has said not to for 80+ years. The point is, who is going to fight for home grow when it only benefits average citizens?


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===when it only benefits average citizens?===

    A very tiny but vocal minority can continue making its case.


  38. - njt - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    On the home grown item, assuming legalization, an officer would still need a warrant to search. I can’t imagine many judges taking the time to approve searches for one plant after legalization.


  39. - Roadiepig - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    The people who are saying “homegrown or nothing” are making this much harder for fence-sitting reps to get on board. After living through the 50+ years of Nixon’s war on Minorities and Hippies (oops- War on Drug) and watching good people I know end up in court or even jail for consuming parts of a rather innocuous plant , I am more than willing to wait until another day/session to include home growing if it means people won’t be criminals for using and possessing their personal recreational drug of choice. Would I grow if it was made legal? Probably not, and I have a huge garden and many years of experience growing other plants. I really hope they don’t do the work for the other side, who seem content in allowing a violent criminal network to continue to operate, rather than allow the law to pass without home grow. Recent polls here say 60% percent or so would rather see the government regulate weed and make some revenue rather than a heavily armed criminal who might talk your teenager into trying something even worse. Time to back away from hard line positions so that real progress can finally be made against Reefer Madness


  40. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Roadiepig - Lawmakers are in total control of this. Not random citizens who have the right to their own opinion. Nothing we think will change whether legalization passes or not this session.


  41. - hey oh - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    again, I haven’t seen anything actually submitted for the homegrow issue, is there actually confirmation they have submitted/made changes to the initial bill as presented?


  42. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    I don’t think the bill has been amended at this point. I thought I read that would happen this week. That should be very soon since it is almost a holiday weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes. I want home grown too, but see no need to be a progress stopper on that issue.


  43. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    “I’m looking forward to seeing the changes.”

    They are hopefully hashing out the final details.


  44. - Illinois Land Owner - - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 6:09 pm:

    I look at homegrown cannabis just like I do tomatoes, not home brewing. Only a “handful” of people grow their own tomatoes vs. buying them at the store. With folks all over the country growing their own vegetables at home, it’s not hurting the manufacturers of vegetables. I see the state losing tax revenue over home grown as negligible.

    They are wanting to keep it out of the bill for one simple reason…power. Police want the ability to come into my home, uninvited and unprovoked.


  45. - Con - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 7:12 pm:

    Mom?


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