After telling a Downstate TV station it would be a “mistake” to legalize marijuana in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner is firm on his stance.
In the past, the Republican governor has said he wants more studies on the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug. And this past Wednesday, he took it further.
“I do not support legalizing marijuana. I think that’s a mistake. You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here,” Rauner said in an interview on WSIL in Marion. “I do not support legalizing marijuana.” according to Capitol Fax.
Rewind back in April when the governor called recreational marijuana “a very, very difficult subject.” Rauner said he wouldn’t support legalizing marijuana unless there’s a study of the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug.
According to Capitol Fax, it was stated sponsors of the legislation to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Illinois called out Gov. Bruce Rauner’s opposition based on an alleged lack of data to support legalization.
“The governor’s statement against legalizing recreational adult-use marijuana is shortsighted and uninformed,” Steans said. “States began legalizing recreational marijuana five years ago. That’s five years of data that show that teen use does not increase when it’s legalized.” said Steans.
Earlier this year, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), as well as State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), introduced legislation to allow adults in Illinois to possess of up to 28 grams of cannabis as well as allow facilities to sell cannabis products, according to Capitol Fax.
“The mistake here is Governor Rauner not taking the time to familiarize himself with the incredible success states are having with this ‘experiment,’” Cassidy said. “The data indicate no increase in teen use, massive reductions in the criminal black market, and the kind of booming economic success he says he wants for Illinois. We are happy to sit down with the governor to discuss this legislation when he is ready to deal in facts, not scare tactics.”
The legislation introduced by Steans and Caddsiy also includes a number of public safety as well as public health measures, such as funding for alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis abuse prevention programs.
“There are hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who are already using marijuana recreationally,” Steans said. “We have an opportunity to regulate the product so that is safe and sold in stores rather than on the streets. It’s time for the governor to realize that this is a public health and public safety measure. The sponsors have held several subject matter hearings to gather more information about the potential effects of legalizing cannabis in Illinois and will continue to do so.”