Another attempt to legalize marijuana is being discussed in the Statehouse, but this time with a few different rules. The legislation proposes adults could use the drug which would be taxed to help raise money for the state.
If you’re 21-years-old or older, you could soon, not only be allowed to buy alcohol, but marijuana as well, under the legislation. It doesn’t stop there. You would also be allowed to sell and grow it with some regulations.
Eight states are already rolling in the dough from passing laws which regulate and tax marijuana for adults to use. Representative Kelly Cassidy (D) says, why not Illinois? “Revenue for state services and, this is literally a large amount of untapped resources that can go a long way.” Cassidy says multiple survey and studies show close to 60% of U.S. voters think marijuana should be legal.
She adds, the benefits are endless. “The improvements to public safety, the job development and business growth that’s coming out of it, not just within the cannabis industry, but within related industries. Many of the states have seen huge boosts in tourism.”
A medical marijuana dispensary owner says the bill will help him boost sales and won’t interfere with current patients. “The legislation specifically takes a recreation program, but keeps the medical program completely in place the way it is now.” Stone says the bill would enforce strict health and safety regulations, like limiting people to 28 grams and not allow driving under the influence.
The Marijuana Policy Project estimates sales could raise anywhere between $350 – $700 million annually.
“But, there’s still a lot of fear among elected officials who worry about being soft on crime. I think this makes a smart on crime, smart on job development, smart on economic opportunity and smart on revenue.”
The bill is in the beginning process but, if passed, the Department of Agriculture would have 180 days to create regulations for marijuana.
Under the proposal, the tax on pot would be distributed every three months to the State Board of Education (30%), Department of Public Health (20%) and General Revenue Fund (50%).