On May 6, supporters of marijuana legalization marched through Chicago’s Loop. The group gathered at Daley Plaza for its Chicago Global Cannabis March. Demonstrations were held worldwide supporting marijuana legalization.
Suhail and other demonstrators said that the costs of marijuana prohibition outweigh the benefits, according to Sun Times Extract. Their sentiments include the cost of resources like incarceration, law enforcement and prosecution. Annie Magan uses marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Suhail, a Northeastern University student said, “I’m here fighting for legalization because too much money is wasted on incarceration.”
Magan, however, doesn’t qualify for Illinois’ medical marijuana program since menstrual cramps aren’t on the qualifying conditions list. She continues to obtain her marijuana from the black market.
She said, “If marijuana was legalized, I wouldn’t be forced to break the law. NO plant should be illegal.”
Phillip Peterson, a volunteer with Illinois NORML said, “Right now we’re really hoping to get everyone informed and moving and talking to lawmakers about Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353, both of those are our current legalization bills here in this state that we’re working on pushing now.”
Illinois decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015 and legalized medical marijuana in 2013. In March 2017, representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Heather Steans introduced House Bill 2353 to legalize marijuana for adult use. The bill has at least co-sponsors in the state’s House. Lawmakers don’t expect a vote until 2018.
If Governor Rauner wins reelection, lawmakers worry about legalization efforts as the Governor has been reluctant to pass decriminalization efforts or expand the state’s medical marijuana qualifying conditions list.
One Illinois medical marijuana patient, Peter Nordine, said, “It seems like people are starting to warm up to marijuana legalization more. There’s nothing bad about it, it’s a positive plant.”
Kirby Long, a student from Millikin University, said, “People there, especially in terms of law enforcement, aren’t as open to the idea [of legalization].”
Ali Nagib of Illinois NORML said, ““We’ve seen people’s minds being changed on this issue. Whether it’s because they know someone who is sick or dying and they’ve seen how this plant helps them, or because they’ve seen the failures of the drug war, they’ve seen the impact that this policy, this failed prohibition, has had on our societies and on our communities. They’ve seen this, and they’ve realized that something has to change.”