Illinois State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) introduced identical legislation Wednesday in both General Assembly chambers to legalize and tax recreational marijuana for adults in the state.
The bill also calls for marijuana to be regulated in similar ways as alcohol, thus requiring purchasers to show proof of age, sales to anyone under 21 would be illegal, driving under the influence would remain a crime and any marijuana sold in the state would be subject to testing, labeling and regulation as a consumer protection measure.
Supporters say the benefits are endless and it would help address the multi-billion dollar budget gap with up $700 million dollars in new tax revenue.
“The improvements to Public Safety the job development and business growth that’s coming out of it not just with in the cannabis industry but within related industries many of the states or seen huge boost to tourism,” said Kelly Cassidy.
The proposal designates 50 percent of wholesale revenues for the state’s general fund and divides the remaining dollars between education and public health. Opponents say the new law would be hard to enforce
“it will not be on what it does for the budget, it’s how the overall picture affects society, and are acceptance to that product and what it does for people in our community and the downward slope it has with the result of using that product,” said IL Senator Chuck Weaver.