John Fritchey – Cook County Commissioner – said it is now time for the General Assembly to pass a recreational marijuana law. Fritchey was one of the sponsors in the legislature of medical marijuana – debated close to a decade ago and passed in 2013.
He said predictions that ‘the sky would fall’ did not prove true and would not with recreational use either.
“When we look at the legalization of recreational marijuana, it is a legislative trifecta: The right social policy that is supported by the majority of voters; it will generate millions of dollars in new revenue, and it would dramatically lower the costs and burdens on our criminal justice system,” Fritchey said.
He said estimates are that recreational use would bring close to $350 to $700 million a year.
“Over two-thirds of Illinois voters support legalization. In Cook County, that number goes up to 70 percent,” Fritchey said. He said close to 97 percent of marijuana cases are dismissed.
“Keep in mind that whenever anybody is arrested for low-level drug possession in any of the 132 municipalities in Cook County, it’s the county that then bears the cost,” Fritchey said.
Fritchey also noted that predictions of more crime in places where recreational use is legal have not proved true. He will introduce a resolution before the County Board calling on the legislature to approve the recreational use. The legislature is expected to take up the issue next year.