* 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.
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.