Special Interest Groups Crying Foul On Marijuana Legalization in Illinois
Just when Illinois and New York thought they were going to get pro-marijuana legislation passed, civil rights & special interest groups have stepped in to block them. A proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois by Jan. 1, 2020, was filed in the state Senate on Monday, but the state’s powerful House speaker said its passage is not guaranteed to happen as soon as they thought.
While Governor J.B. Pritzker seems to be in support of cannabis legalization, he is noted by the Belleville News-Democrat as backing off some of the early enthusiasm in announcing the latest proposal known as Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 7 saying now it could be a start point for debate versus more confident language last week.
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The sudden loss of confidence seems to be from House Speaker Mike Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, latest comments on the proposal. Speaker Madigan noted that he didn’t think they had the 60 needed votes to get passage, due to some “language” in the bill.
While the bill allows for expungements for cannabis charges and other minor offenses, low-interest loans for those affected by the war on drugs, treatment & education, some groups like the NAACP & Smart Approaches to Marijuana oppose the bill. Being represented in the press conference by Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, both groups believe “that expansion of legal pot would exacerbate an existing issue with use and addiction” according to the Chicago Tribune. There are also concerns among the opposition groups about THC content & labeling.
Powerful Democrats At Odds
This puts powerful Democrats at odds, as just four days ago the proposal by Governor J. B. Pritzker & fellow Democrats almost seemed like a done deal. The Governor touted this bill as “the most equity-centric law in the nation” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, who was also a major contributor to the bill was quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times as saying the proposal “serves as the single-biggest piece of criminal justice reform as it relates to the war on drugs that the Legislative Black Caucus has ever been able to be a part of passing.”
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While most expected law enforcement and evangelical groups to oppose the bill, no one expected this kind of push back from special interest groups serving those that would see the most positive impact from criminal record expungement, justice reform, entrepreneurship opportunities, and jobs. These neighborhoods and communities would also see the most investment by the state into programs and priority in licensing applications.
Disciple 420’s Opinion
We aren’t political experts here, we are cannabis advocates, but it seems as if special interest groups are working against the people they are trying to represent. We hope their just holding out for money and posturing for political purposes, but the arguments being presented have been proven not to hold weight or merit in other states that have legalized marijuana.
Holding the people that you represent hostage for some cash is bad, but killing the bill all out and siding with groups you oppose on nearly every other issue is just plain corrupt. Let’s just hope the price tag in pay to play politics isn’t too much, and our brothers and sisters in the cannabis community in Illinois can begin to enjoy 100% legalized cannabis freedom.
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- Belleville News-Democrat – https://www.bnd.com/news/politics-government/article230114179.html
- Chicago Tribune – https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-illinois-recreational-marijuana-protest-20190506-story.html
- NAACP Website – https://www.naacp.org/
- Smart Approaches to Marijuana Website – https://learnaboutsam.org/who-we-are/leadership-team-2-2/
- Chicago Sun-Times – https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/pritzker-introduces-bill-marijuana-legalization/
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