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Illinois Debates Marijuana A Day Before 4/20
Illinois lawmakers held a panel discussion yesterday to debate the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana, a move that has already been made by a couple other states.
One of the speakers who shared her thoughts with the panel was Barbara Brohl, who has helped get Colorado’s recreational marijuana program up and running. Brohl spoke about her state’s program, which has more than 3,000 licensed marijuana businesses. Roughly half of the dispensaries sell medical marijuana, while the other half sell recreational marijuana.
She noted that all businesses conduct extensive background checks, and individuals are only allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use. She believes her state’s program is helping to cut into the black market drug trade, and the profits are helping provide drug abuse treatment and develop safer alternatives to street drugs.
All About The Bottom Line
According to Brohl, Colorado’s recreational marijuana program was extremely profitable last year, even though the program was still working out some loose ends. Brohl said the program brought in more than $200 million in tax revenue and more than $1 billion in total sales. Of the profits, more than $40 million was given to schools around the state.
Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago, appears to agree with Brohl, stating that people are still finding marijuana even though it’s illegal, so the state should consider regulation.
“Prohibition doesn’t work,” said Steans, adding that legalization would create jobs and generate an estimated $350 million to $700 million a year in tax revenues for Illinois.
Recreational Marijuana Rules in Minnesota
Here’s a look at the recreational marijuana proposal as it currently stands:
- Possession of up to one ounce of pot by individuals over the age of 21 would be legal.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal.
- Smoking marijuana in public would remain illegal.
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but recreational marijuana is not. Lawmakers plan to hold additional panel discussions prior to voting on the measure, as some opponents were upset that their voices were not heard at the first panel. Lawmakers have have already stated that they won’t be calling for a vote at the upcoming legislative session, so we’re still a couple of months away from an actual vote on the measure.
Ironically, the panel discussion on marijuana was held one day before April 20, a day that is popular among marijuana enthusiasts.