Democratic Candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker Would Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Says legal pot would give state new revenues, put fewer behind bars

CHICAGO - Democratic candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker wants to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in Illinois.

Currently, only medical marijuana is legal in the state.  Eight other states including most recently California have legalized the purchase and use of recreational marijuana.

Pritzker was joined by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Lake Forest) and 48th Chicago Ward Democratic Committeewoman Carol Ronen at a press conference to support legalization, in part to end the criminalization of possession of marijuana and  to generate tax revenue.
 
“Our state should legalize marijuana,” said Pritzker in a statement. “In the name of criminal justice reform, consumer safety, and increased state revenue, Illinois needs a governor who is ready to legalize marijuana in Illinois ... Most importantly, it is a step forward in reforming our broken criminal justice system. Criminalizing marijuana hasn’t made our communities safer. What it’s done is disproportionately impact black and brown communities. The criminalization of cannabis never has been and never will be enforced fairly, and it’s time to bring that to an end.”

Pritzker and others at the news conference also attacked the Trump administration and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular for the federal government's assertion that legalized recreational marijuana laws violate federal statutes, which is accurate but was not prosecuted by the Obama administration, which deferred to the states.  Sessions and others in the Justice Department have indicated that may change, although no specific enforcement actions against states have been taken.
 
“With Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions attacking our communities, Illinois needs a governor who will do the right thing and stand up for legalized marijuana,” said Senator Heather Steans. “JB knows there have been enough studies on this. We know marijuana can be legalized in a safe way, and it’s time we do it. It will raise revenue for our state, and will help the communities devastated by the war on drugs. It’s time we elect a governor who will move our state forward on this issue, and JB is the leader to do it.”


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