The biggest national group fighting against the legalization of recreational marijuana flexed its political muscle at the Illinois statehouse today.
The group “Smart Approaches to Marijuana” says legalizing the drug could put children in danger.
The group one of the biggest, best funded national groups fighting against legal marijuana at the state level.
On Wednesday, they staged a rally holding signs saying thing like “Weed is for Punks,” and “Say No to Dope.”
However, Governor Pritzker, Republicans in both chambers, and the majority of Democrats support the legislation.
In a last ditch effort to change lawmakers minds, the group’s national political director said legalizing marijuana would put children, and drivers, in harm’s way.
“Our youth consumption rate has gone up in states who have legalized it, and we’re seeing car tragedies and car accidents, and DUIs,” said the group’s representative, Abu Edwards.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said, “Every ‘sky is falling’ argument, these things are happening today. We have over 800,000 people in the state of Illinois who report regular use of cannibas.”
Despite the group’s claims, 12 of 13 states that have legalized marijuana report that they have actually seen no increse in usage among youth.
Supporters of the movement to legalize say drug dealers on the black market aren’t carding anyone, and they aren’t under obligation to use safe labels or child-proof containers.
The State would require dispensaries to use those precautions.
Governor Pritzker’s new budget proposal is banking on the state collecting at least $170 million in licensing fees for dispensaries this year. Each license would cost $100,000.