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Cannabis roundup

Thursday, May 30, 2019

* Jaclyn Driscoll

Illinois state Senators approved a proposal on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older beginning on January 1, 2020.

With a roll call of 38-17, the measure received support from three of the Republicans in the chamber while two Democrats decided to vote “no.”

Rock Island state Sen. Neil Anderson is one of two Republican co-sponsors of the proposal. He said even though he was voting in favor, he personally is still against cannabis use.

“I will continue to tell my kids that they should not smoke tobacco, they should not smoke cannabis and that is my job as a responsible parent,” said Anderson. “But to those adults out there that want to use cannabis, as I’ve said before, freedom is freedom.”

* Tina Sfondeles

During the Senate debate, state Sen. Dale Righter argued legalization will increase use and has led to more organized crime prosecutions in Colorado.

“More people are going to use and this is going to cause more hazards for the public, not less,” Righter, R-Mattoon, said. But his Republican colleague, state Sen. Jason Barickman, said he now supports the measure, in part because of additions protecting employers. He said it also gives people “more freedom of their choices.”

And bill sponsor state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said just one state that has legalized marijuana has seen an increase in teen use.

“It’s not something of course that we want teens to do … and the notion that you can prevent teens from doing this by simply ignoring that they currently are is what got us into this place,” Steans said. “This is where we are right now.”

“We can’t pretend that we don’t actually have cannabis smoking going on. We know we do. In Illinois, we estimate that about 800,000 people are using. Burying our heads in the sand about that does not improve the situation or the outcomes on this,” Steans said. “A different approach is going to have a much better outcome.”

The biggest reason arrests have risen in Colorado is the cannabis law gave the police more money than they ever had before to go after the bad guys. Part of the legalization process has to be eventually knocking out the criminal networks. First you weaken them with competition, then you take them out.

* Rick Pearson, Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks

Steans said legalizing marijuana is expected to generate $57 million in general revenue in the coming budget year and $30 million for a cannabis business development fund. That’s far less than the $170 million Pritzker projected in his spending plan, but Steans said budget negotiators aren’t counting on any of that revenue.

After paying for regulatory expenses and costs related to the expungement process, marijuana revenue would be divided among a number of areas. The largest share, 35%, would go into the state’s general fund; 25% would go to community grants; 20% to mental health and substance abuse programs; 10% to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills; 8% to support law enforcement; and 2% for public education.

Opponents to legalization are now gearing up for a fight in the House.

State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Democrat from Des Plaines who sponsored the resolution to slow the legalization process, said it should be delayed until the summer to allow lawmakers time to understand what’s in the bill.

“They’re trying to ram it down our throats at the last minute,” he said. “They’re presenting it real late so we have a hard time finding out what’s in it.”

All the opponents who claimed this was “really” about some desperate need to collect massive state revenues were wrong from the beginning.

And, Marty, people have been working on this bill for two years. The recent changes were in response to some of your own demands.

* And these folks will never be happy

“The concern there still remains in terms of home grow. We don’t have access. We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what. The penalties associated with home grow, anything less than five plants is a civil citation, from $100 to a max of $200. That is a concern for us. We want to make sure that it is a strong deterrent for home grow,” said Jim Kaitschuk on behalf of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.

“We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what.” *Sigh* Kaitschuk, I love you, but try easing up on the Orwell.

* Wut?

It also gives preference in license applications to people who live in or have connections to neighborhoods characterized by high arrest rates for marijuana and other drug-related offenses.

Some opponents of the measure, however, said that provision was one of the reasons why they voted against the bill.

“There is a limited number of licenses and we’re going to give preference to vendors who are going to be in the poorest zip codes in Illinois,” said Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet. “We’re going to give preference to keeping poor people stoned.”

So, you’d rather grant official state preference to vendors in… wealthy areas?

* Tara Molina

The bill would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy and possess marijuana — 30 grams of cannabis flower or five grams of cannabis concentrate.

According to the bill, cannabis products may not be transported over state lines, and tax revenue will cover needs and costs related to expungement or the clearing of marijuana related records before it’s broken out. Additionally, local towns can decide individually how cannabis-related businesses may fit into their communities and employers may still maintain zero tolerance workplaces. Landlords and business owners can have zero tolerance policies as well.

Even with the changes, some are still against the proposal.

“More people are going to use, and that’s going to create more hazards for the public, not less,” said Dale Righter (R-Matoon). “Our kids are watching this. Maybe this is OK for us for now, and for a couple years we’ll get tax revenue. But its meaning 10 or 15 years down the road? And that’s my concern, and that’s why I oppose the bill.”

I don’t even know what to say to that. I kinda doubt he even knows how to translate that word salad.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

56 Comments
  1. - Harvest76 - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Do we have a sense yet of the votes in the house? I would normally say if Madigan approves, it wouldnt be up for a vote unless the votes were there, but this time seems different.


  2. - A. Citizen - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Fondly remembering my ‘stoner’ friends who spent a few years in a stupor.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    ===Do we have a sense yet of the votes in the house? ===

    Subscribe.


  4. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    This isn’t just about Righter, but in general I wish legislators would remember that they can come back later and take another swing at an issue. If this is “OK for us now” but might create some unidentified problem in 10 years, then in 10 years we can deal with it.


  5. - Justin - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    I’m 100% in favor of this. My worry: do the opponents in the House have any formal power to block a vote? If Madigan–who’s said he’s in favor–wants a vote, then there will be a vote, right?


  6. - Ok - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    “And that’s my concern, and that’s why I oppose the bill.”

    Yea, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.


  7. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    I am glad it will be legal long overdue. I don’t get why it would be illegal to take across state lines. If I take to Indiana and illegal there u face charges in Indiana. So will Illinois police stop cars with Illinois license plates (with probable cause) coming back inti state see legal weed and arrest for going out of state?


  8. - Jocko - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    I hope Dale doesn’t set off the sprinklers…running around with his hair on fire.


  9. - Concerned Dem - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    Sen. Righter’s district does struggle with a real drug problem but it isn’t pot, it’s meth. Focus on that issue Senator.


  10. - LetsLegalizeIt - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    Do we know roughly when the vote will take place?


  11. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    I still think it fails. If house dems are good at anything, it’s making their own voters wait for things they overwhelmingly approve of. “This idea has 66% approval? Well then, we should definitely keep studying the issue for two-to-five more years and come back to it then”


  12. - Montrose - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    Yes, Chapin, the reason we would give preference to areas that have historically been under invested and need economic development and jobs is so people in poverty are close to pot.

    Is it worse that he might truly believe what he is saying or he knows what he saying is ridiculous but says it anyway?


  13. - Loki - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    The lesson to be learned from the Senate passage of the bill is this: Don’t bother making concessions to the Illinois Police associations. It’s pointless, and in the end, no matter what you do for them, they will still oppose your efforts. They’re happy to take the money, though…


  14. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    “We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what.”

    I’ve lost all faith in the Illinois police at this point.

    Public trust is a cornerstone of your job, guys. Once you lose it, it doesn’t come back easily. That will cause far more damage than a plant ever will.


  15. - Lake County Mom - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Something I haven’t heard debated but worth mentioning is how drug dealing works.

    Because marijuana is bulky and has a distinct odor, it is much easier to detect than other drugs. But dealers continue to sell pot because it attracts young buyers. When factoring in the cost of risk of detection, dealers consider it a loss-leader. First buyers come for the pot then dealers market them harder drugs, ones that are more profitable and easier to transport.

    By legalizing pot, the state disrupts dealers’ markets. Less people buying pot from them means less customers for harder drugs.


  16. - BerryOG - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    I checked the number of sponsors on HR0157 - the slow down bill.

    If I counted correctly, there are 61 sponsors. The last of which added 5/22. The vast majority of the sponsors were added in March.

    There are 118 house members. The HR 0157, if I counted correctly has 61.

    I’m hoping at least 2/61 will change their mind. I honestly imagine many more will change their mind. I’m almost optimistic but I don’t wanna jinx myself


  17. - Mary - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    My husband and I were listening to the debate right before the vote and I thought Chapin’s comments were the silliest. Exactly…only the rich people get to make profits and be stoned? I thought it was good that they tried to answer all the crazy comments that were brought up before voting. It was an exciting day yesterday, even though I know there’s a way to go.


  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    –“More people are going to use, and that’s going to create more hazards for the public, not less,” said Dale Righter (R-Matoon). “Our kids are watching this. Maybe this is OK for us for now, and for a couple years we’ll get tax revenue. But its meaning 10 or 15 years down the road? And that’s my concern, and that’s why I oppose the bill.”–

    I’m confused — is that an argument against legal weed, or an argument for getting stoned right before you speak and vote on the subject?

    Because that dude abides.


  19. - Dr. GreenThumb - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    “The concern there still remains in terms of home grow. We don’t have access. We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what. The penalties associated with home grow, anything less than five plants is a civil citation, from $100 to a max of $200. That is a concern for us. We want to make sure that it is a strong deterrent for home grow,” said Jim Kaitschuk on behalf of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.

    Can someone explain why they are lowering the penalty for homegrow? I was told last night by a commenter that growing 5 or less plants was the equivalent of trafficking.

    I’m trying to understand who is correct? Can someone help with my ignorance? I’m not a cop or an attorney.


  20. - Nonbeleiver - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    Go ahead and pass it. But the $30 million cannabis ‘development fund” is just silly.


  21. - PJ - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    ==I’m trying to understand who is correct?==

    First of all, lol at the combination of your username and this question. It’s going to be a $200 fine. You can’t be charged with intent to distribute without any actual evidence of, you know, intent to distribute. So while I’d really advise against using that green thumb for shady business purposes, if you grow for yourself you’re only risking the equivalent of a speeding ticket.

    Assuming this passes.


  22. - Dr. GreenThumb - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    @PJ

    Thanks for the reply. And that’s what I thought. Apparently I’m the only Cypress Hill fan on the blog.


  23. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    There were two House Democratic no votes on the graduated income tax that changed to yes. Here’s hoping that some no or uncertain votes change to yes on cannabis legalization. Here’s hoping that the proponents do all they can to convince legislators to vote yes—Republicans too. This is a big deal and historic.


  24. - Dr. GreenThumb - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Anon @ 11:11 was me. Sorry


  25. - Loki - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Looks like I ran afoul of the profanity ban. Sorry about that…


  26. - Harvest76 - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    =subscribe=
    Believe me, Rich, if I could afford it, I’d be your next loyal customer. I guess I’ll just have to take what information I can get.


  27. - Illinois_Sixth - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    I count 2 Republican co-sponsors for this bill. With the concessions given to expungement and home grow I see this passing with 65 or more votes.


  28. - JoanP - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    You can never predict, with certainty, the impact of any legislation 10-15 years down the line. So maybe we should just shut down the General Assembly? Sheesh.


  29. - Policearedisingenuous - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    The police opposition has always been about power and control. If cannabis is legalized, it’ll be harder for police to trample citizens’ 4th amendment rights and search cars based on a “smell.” And money and resources (particularly in the suburbs) will no longer be wasted on policing a plant.


  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    –First buyers come for the pot then dealers market them harder drugs, ones that are more profitable and easier to transport.–

    I’m pretty confident in declaring that hasn’t been the experience for millions of retail pot smokers; they get weed from their weed guy, who very likely is a friend.

    –By legalizing pot, the state disrupts dealers’ markets. Less people buying pot from them means less customers for harder drugs.–

    Certainly disrupts the illegal pot market. But it should be noted that the “gateway” for harder illegal drugs often starts with a doc’s script you can fill at your local pharmacy: You start out with a script for Oxy or Vicodin, when that runs out, you move on to heroin or fentanyl; you start out with a script for Adderall, when that runs out, you move on to meth.


  31. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    Rep. Skillicorn is now a sponsor, so maybe that’s a good sign?


  32. - Fixer - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Marty, if i can understand this bill in less than an hour of reading, i should hope you have someone on staff that can explain this to you. It’s not as massively complicated a bill as you make it seem.


  33. - Loki - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Moylan’s argument of not enough time to understand what’s in the bill is ridiculous. Amd 1 to SB7 has been out for a while. If he had taken the time to read and understand that, then it would just be a matter of looking over the changes. But heck, it’s not right to assume that we pay these representatives to actually do their jobs, right?


  34. - Dontgoslow - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    Carol Ammons was one of the “go slow” people yet she filed her own legalization bill. Do we think she will vote for the current bill?


  35. - Ken - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    Rep. Skillicorn emailed me last week and assured me he is voting for it.


  36. - Nonbeleiver - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    “It also gives preference in license applications to people who live in or have connections to neighborhoods characterized by high arrest rates for marijuana and other drug-related offenses.”

    More silliness. No area/neighborhood should have a ‘preference’

    Each applicant should be considered on their own merit.


  37. - LetsLegalizeIt - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    For what it’s worth, I think the House will be a bigger hurdle, but I still think it’s possible. With a few Republicans coming over and possibly with a stronger/more solidified Democrat vote, we could pass this. I expect it to be close, but I think we can get 60.


  38. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:09 pm:

    I fully expect this to pass. Concessions were made. There is some Republican support. There will be pressure on democratic house members that are on the fence. There will probably be some gamesmanship with either non votes or present votes.


  39. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:09 pm:

    Some unions were in support of legalization at the press conference today. Hopefully it helps.


  40. - Justin - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    I’m sure someone else has pointed this out already, but the HR 0157 cosponsors are in NO WAY a voting bloc. The sponsors ranged from dishonest fanatics like Moylan who will never support legalization to supporters like Ammons who do not want to lose their favorite elements (in her case, restorative justice pieces).

    They simply agree “That lawmakers should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues…”


  41. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    I think that is a good point Justin. It will be interesting to see how may actual yes votes we get from that group.


  42. - Illinois Gun Owner - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    [This commenter has been banned for life.]


  43. - Inside looking out - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Friday house vote , cars packed gassed and ready to roll .


  44. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==But here’s an outstanding idea, how ’bout law enforcement freezes their tears to use on another day when their co-worker gets killed on the highway because they’re too busy trying to look in folks’ windows for plants growing instead of looking both ways before crossing the street.==

    What an absolutely despicable comment


  45. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Regarding the Colorado black market issue, when surrounding states (and a vast majority of the united states) are still in cannabis prohibition mode, what do you think is going to happen? Notice how the black market for alcohol is not really a thing as it is fully legal throughout the US.


  46. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    Was just going to respond to Illinois Gun Owner in a way that wouldn’t get me banned, and in the time I stepped away from the blog to think about it you settled the issue. Thanks Rich


  47. - ArchPundit - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    ===We don’t have access. We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what.

    Why do police groups get obsessed about knowing everything? If it’s not a problem, it’s not a problem.


  48. - We have plans - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    “We don’t have access. We won’t be able to tell who’s doing what.

    Why do police groups get obsessed about knowing everything? If it’s not a problem, it’s not a problem.”

    The police hate it when citizens have rights, because police are never right.


  49. - 13th - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    what the bill number?


  50. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    ==The police hate it when citizens have rights, because police are never right.==

    I sincerely hope that is snark. If not that’s the second dumb comment on this thread today.


  51. - sulla - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    13th:

    It’s HB1438. If you’re going to call your reps, call em quick.


  52. - anon2 - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    === If this is “OK for us now” but might create some unidentified problem in 10 years, then in 10 years we can deal with it.===

    The toothpaste won’t go back into the tube. A powerful new interest group, Big Cannabis, will be created and can be expected to resist regulations that reduce sales, just like Big Tobacco and Big Beer. They will push for more lax regulations, just like the casinos did.


  53. - Really? - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 5:40 pm:

    When you call your state reps to let ‘em know your against this act, which the majority want (it’s called a democracy for a reason), be sure to tell them about the evils of alcohol as well. ;-)


  54. - Hopefull - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 10:26 pm:

    The bill is currently being debated in committee. Law enforcement continues pushing back over homegrow and expungement. The idea to have med users register their grow and give that list to law enforcement was given by a “neutral” party as a solution to their concerns.

    Everyone sounds dead tired.


  55. - Hopefull - Thursday, May 30, 19 @ 11:27 pm:

    The bill has passed the House committee 13-6 and has been referred to the House floor.


  56. - Person 8 - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 8:44 am:

    checking to see if this works.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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