Two Illinois Lawmakers Propose Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Twenty-eight states in America, allow for some form of legalized marijuana whether it be recreational, medicinal, or both. But Illinois maybe the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana. Two Illinois lawmakers have introduced House Bill 2353 which would legalize recreational marijuana. If passed, this bill could bring in up to $700 million a year because of the tax on marijuana and sales. 

The legislation would allow for residents 21 and older to possess, grow or buy up to an ounce of marijuana and licensed businesses to sell marijuana products. As for restrictions, driving under the influence of cannabis will remain illegal in the state. Cannabis sold in Illinois will be tested, labeled, and subject to additional regulations to ensure that consumers are informed and protected. 

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Marijuana Plants at a Medical Cultivation Center in Illinois

 

Many have high hopes of this bill passing but it might be more difficult than expected. Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh said that he would "be concerned about people driving while they're under the influence of marijuana. Obviously, we have enough problems with DUI-alcohol without compounding it with marijuana." This wasn't Sheriff Walsh's only concern. "My impression is that young people already have enough distractions from doing well in school and then doing well in the work place. Marijuana's not known to energize you. It's known to relax you." Sheriff Walsh may not be the only one voicing his concern with the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that the Illinois Department of Public Health has rejected intractable pain and autism spectrum disorder as medical conditions that could be treated with medical cannabis. The Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah said on Monday that the petition was rejected because none of the information submitted demonstrated an individual diagnosed with intractable pain or autism spectrum disorder would benefit from the use of marijuana.