Chris Stone of HCI Alternativessays that recreational marijuana legalization became inevitable after medical marijuana legalization in 2013. He’s expecting a big push for legalization in the 2018 legislative session. At the same time, he doesn’t think it’ll actually happen until about 2019 or 2020.
Recent reports list Illinois as one of the next 15 states most likely to legalize recreational marijuana, Illinois News Network reports. Part of what Stone thinks will be attractive to legislators is the potential tax revenue from legal marijuana sales. He also believes that some lawmakers’ views are changing.
Stone said, “When you do a medical program, it’s usually about five or six years before you implement a recreational program. We live in a state that doesn’t have, what I would consider, a balanced budget. It’s probably $3 billion out of whack. We live in a state that hasn’t had a capital bill to be able to build roads and bridges in almost 10 years. These are things that definitely move the needle in terms of a recreational program, especially if you look at other states.”
According to Stone, he estimates that legalization would reduce law enforcement and incarceration costs, increase tourism, and greatly reduce the state’s debt.