You can’t know if something works until you test it
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020
“At the earliest” is right. Lawmakers rarely favor reopening laws they just passed unless it’s for technical changes. That’s what they did with cannabis in November and it’s one reason why the mayor’s casino bill went nowhere during the veto session.
Easing the public consumption laws by lowering the start-up fees, expanding the cigar bar alternative, deleting the 1500-feet between shops mandate, etc. could take a lot of time or never pass. Remember, the bill passed last year because it didn’t have those things. The taxes fund the program, lots of legislators feared looser public consumption rules and they absolutely didn’t want to create dense cannabis shop clusters like they’ve had in Denver and California.
This is how the Statehouse works. Pretty much the only way to pass a sweeping new law is to load it up with restrictions or tack on a sunset date to convince the squeamish to go along - and there’s a lot of squeamish people in the General Assembly. And then they wait to see if all heck breaks loose before easing up a bit.
Think about the civil unions path toward marriage equality. There have been exceptions (death penalty abolition being one), but those exceptions tend to prove the rule.
* I’m not saying that Chicago can’t possibly make some changes. But the city needs to stop delaying its own local actions while it places demands on the state legislature that a majority of legislators are super-reluctant to pass so soon.
Thankfully, Mayor Lightfoot also said today that she plans to bring the cigar bar expansion ordinance to the floor next week, because, as mentioned in the headline, the only way legislators can see if something works or doesn’t work at the local level is if locals go ahead and try it out (and that goes for the casino as well). /rant