There are about seven weeks left in the state’s spring legislative session and in that time Gov. JB Pritzker says he’d like to pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.
Pritzker talked to the Chicago Sun Times Thursday saying passing this legislation would check a benchmark promise he made on the campaign trail.
Illinois approved medical use of marijuana in 2013. It wasn’t until 2016, when then-Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts.
“Freedom is never a bad thing and the harder you fight stuff like that the more it’s prevalent,” said Benjamin Pierce. “So, legalize it. Make money off of it rather than filling up your jails trying to fight it.”
“If it’s anything like Colorado, it’ll definitely help our economy around here,” said Shadd Owsley. “There’s no harmful side effects to it whatsoever so yeah, let’s go for it.”
Republican State Senator Chuck Weaver said in March of 2017:
I felt then it was a slippery slope towards recreational marijuana I voted no then and ill vote no now, because societal issues are more important than budget issues even as important as budget issues are.
Democratic State Senator Dave Koehler said in December of 2017:
I think it’s probably inevitable. Legistlation sometimes reflects what society is evolving to. I would support it.
People from Central Illinois weighed in on the topic Friday.
“I don’t see any problem with it,” said Pierce. “If the company that you work for has a problem with it and they’ll let you know through the drug testing policies and stuff like that, but for most people, shouldn’t be any kind of real issue, just make money for the state.”
There isn’t a bill for this in the work yet.
Pritzker told the Chicago Sun Times that legalization is crucial as a criminal justice reform element, to ensure the safety of cannabis in the state and to create jobs.