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Springfield Officials Can’t Seem to Comprehend the Benefits of Legalization


The black market is one reason that some local officials, mainly law enforcement, don’t support legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois. The State’s Attorney in Adams County, Gary Farha, says one argument is to regulate and take control of the marijuana market. He does, however, understand that some people will still grow in their homes without permission.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley doesn’t support recreational marijuana, but does support medical, according to Herald-Whig. Senator Heather Steans and Representative Kelly Cassidy both sponsor legalization efforts. They want to see local law enforcement agencies working on violent crimes, property crimes and want to see tax dollars going to education and public programs. They also want individual freedom.

Farha said, “It’s not going to stop people from growing their own. There’s always going to have to be prosecution because if you’re going to require huge expenses for licenses to do it the right way, you can’t let people grow it on their own. That’s where there’s a disconnect for me.”

Chief Copley said, “If it can help people who have issues with pain or they’re terminal, I’m all for it, but the legalization for recreational use, I cannot get behind.”

Efforts are concentrated in Springfield. Testing and labeling practices would be established. The sales would be handled by legitimate businesses. The state would prohibit sales to those under age 21.

Cassidy said, “Right now, anyone can go to a street corner and buy it. Drug dealers don’t ‘card’, but you can’t even get into a dispensary if you’re under 21.”

Farha and Chief Copley still believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to the use of other drugs.

Farha said, “When I’ve looked through thousands and thousands of (pre-sentence investigations), I’ve never seen somebody who started a bad drug addiction never using cannabis. It always starts with cannabis.”

Chief Copley also believes that the roads will become unsafe with legalization.

He said, “Prior to medical marijuana, all you had to do is prove they had THC in their blood system when they were driving. Now do I agree that everybody who has it in their system at the time they’re driving should be charged with a DUI? No, because it stays in your system for so long. If you had somebody that was high and driving, that is all you had to do, but now there’s a threshold.”