Illinois Commissioner Wants to Legalize Weed
CHICAGO – A Cook County Commissioner has said that it is time for Illinois to legalize recreational weed. John Fritchey said the time has come for the General Assembly to pass a recreational marijuana law.
Commissioner John Fritchey added that people’s concerns regarding legalizing medical marijuana did not come true, and the sky won’t fall by legalizing recreational pot either. Most people in Illinois support legalizing recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana was legalized in Illinois in 2013, with Fritchey helping to sponsor the medical cannabis legislation.
Legalizing recreational cannabis could bring Illinois an estimated annual revenue of $350 to 700 million. “When we look at the legalization of recreational marijuana, it is a legislative trifecta: The right social policy that is supported by the majority of voters; it will generate millions of dollars in new revenue; and it would dramatically lower the costs and burdens on our criminal justice system. Over two-thirds of Illinois voters support legalization. In Cook County, that number goes up to 70 percent.”
Fritchey added that 97 percent of cannabis-related cases end up being dismissed anyway. It is a waste of law enforcement resources and tarnishes citizens caught with minimal amounts unnecessarily, saying “Keep in mind that whenever anybody is arrested for low-level drug possession in any of the 132 municipalities in Cook County, it’s the county that then bears the cost.” He says that recreational weed can replace some of the revenue that will be lost with the repeal of the soda tax, which commissioners voted 15 to 1 to repeal. The repeal will lose the state $200 million per year, and lawmakers say that recreational marijuana taxes could replace some of the loss.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She writes about activism, social justice, news, politics, comedy, education and marketing.