Local Leaders and Residents React To Potential Marijuana Legislation


“Just in general I think it would be a good thing economically for us,” said Emmy Stravinskas.  “It doesn’t mean that it can’t necessarily go on, I don’t think we should add to our troubles,” added Walter Watson.

Rockford residents reacting to the vision of Illinois lawmakers, who proposed a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 21 to purchase, grow, and sell marijuana.

“it’s something that get’s discussed every year and it’s a chance for people to debate the issue, look at the pro’s and con’s,” said Senator Dave Syverson. “I wouldn’t think it’s going to move at all this year,” he added.

Syverson is against the implementation of the bill. He says the risks of recreational marijuana outweigh the benefits. “We have a substantial increase in driving under the influence,” said Syverson. “In fact a couple of states have said they have been giving out more tickets for people driving under the influence of marijuana than the influence of alcohol,” he added.

“I’m a long way from supporting it,” said State Senator Steve Stadelman. “With the introduction of legislation, I think it’s a good chance to start the dialogue and see what the pro’s and con’s are,” he added.

John Sullivan the Vice President of MedMar, a medical marijuana dispensary in Rockford, believes legalizing marijuana could help fight the Opioid epidemic, seeing that both drugs can be used to treat chronic pain.

“There at least is some suggestion, some studies, from those other states that suggest that recreational or adult use of cannabis could help to stem that tide of opiate addiction and opiate abuse,” Sullivan said.

“I would like to see a little more as far as what the other states are doing, what their experiences have been, before we undertake any type of similar legislation in this state,” added Stadelman.

The proposed bill is still in the early stages and analysts say it’s about a year away before lawmakers could make a vote.

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