A ballot question introduced by Sen. Heather Steans (D) and Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D) regarding the legalization of cannabis will be presented to Illinois residents in November. Though a non-binding question, the turnout could go a long way towards shifting the attitude toward marijuana legislation in Illinois.
Sponsors of the cannabis legalization measure say Illinois would license businesses to grow and sell marijuana products and create various safety regulations. Adults will be able to grow, purchase and possess cannabis legally.
While the Illinois Senate voted 37 to 13 to have the question put on the November ballot, the opposition is making itself heard.
“How are we going to regulate those individuals who are under the influence of marijuana at work, driving and in public? My position is no,” said Rep. Dan Brady (R) to the Chicago Tribune.
But Cassidy refutes that standpoint: “Marijuana prohibition creates far more problems than it prevents. Regulating marijuana and removing the criminal element from marijuana production and sales will make our communities safer.”
J. B. Pritzker, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is also on board with cannabis legalization.
The Illinois State University doesn’t seem to be on board with the looming changes either.
“Just like medical marijuana is not permitted on campus, recreational marijuana will not be either,” said the university’s Chief of Police Aaron Woodruff. It seems there will need to be changes at the federal level for ISU to adapt to the times.
Woodruff says he’s worried about the lack of research around cannabis.
“In the U.S. there hasn’t been a ton of validated research yet because of the restrictions the DEA has on the testing and regulation of it. My personal opinion is that we’re kind of rushing ahead of things and I worry about unintended consequences, much similar to the way smoking tobacco was considered in previous generations.”
That’s all the more reason for Illinois to get their new legislation in order and research programs under way.