By Michael Bachara
Chicago, IL – State lawmakers continued their in-depth look at cannabis policy reform earlier this week as they heard testimony on the economic boost Illinois could expect following the end of cannabis prohibition. Travel icon Rick Steves, Colorado State Rep. Dan Pabon, economist Adam Orens, and several Illinois business owners discussed the benefits and challenges Illinois could expect upon adopting a better law.
“When you legalize marijuana, use does not go up, teen use does not go up, crime does not go up, what goes up ix tax revenue, what goes down is the black market,” Steves said. “Seventy thousand people are locked up in our country every year, 700,000 people are arrested, for possession of marijuana, not violent crimes. They’re not rich white guys, they’re poor people and they’re black people. It’s amazing that it’s happening in our country right now and there is just a way out of this.”
The sponsors of the cannabis regulation bill, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, said legal marijuana could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
“When you look at polling that was done in Illinois, two-thirds of people support legalization of adult use cannabis,” Sen. Steans said. “And that’s just going to continue to grow.”
While tax revenue can make a big impact on state coffers, the financial impact of legalization is far broader. Whether it’s through new jobs for struggling communities, more business at the local hardware store, or additional work for contractors and professionals, countless lives benefit.
Groups in opposition to the pragmatic legislation include: Lockport Police Department, Shorewood Police Department, Romeoville Police Department and the Mokena Police Department.
Photo Source: Illinois NORML