The Illinois Senate has advanced the recreational marijuana idea. If a ballot measure does make it to voters, it will be a non-binding question. Lawmakers would use this more as a gauge of public opinion and would not actually legalize recreational marijuana – even with a majority supporting the issue.
Lawmakers wishing to pursue legalization legislation could use the ballot questions’ when drafting potential proposals, according to the Chicago Tribune. Senator Bill Cunningham says that the ballot question would “bring the public into the debate” and let their opinions be heard. The proposed ballot question has to pass the Illinois House and Senate before it can be included on November ballots.
Democrats support the ballot questions while Republicans, except for Senator Jim Oberweis, oppose the topic. Oberweis is on the fence regarding marijuana legalization and opted not to vote on the issue.
Two proposals to legalize recreational marijuana hang in limbo in the House and Senate. Many tout legalization as being an ideal opportunity to generate tax revenue and create space in prisons. Also mentioned is the ability for law enforcement to spend time on dangerous crimes.
Governor Rauner isn’t quite on board with legalization and several law enforcement officials share his opinion. Ed Wojcicki of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police fears increased teen use and increased traffic accidents if legalization took place.