Illinois Senators Push Marijuana Legalization

A lawmaker from central Illinois emphasized the importance of efforts to legalize recreational marijuana during a neighborhood forum, stating the industry could drive economic growth. Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons of Urbana was one of those speakers through a panel discussion Monday about legalizing recreational cannabis.

“It would help to grow microbusinesses in the community,” she said. “It’s essential that we pass a bill which produces equity businesses.” Ammons, who’s analyzed the regulation and taxation of marijuana since 2004, said revenue from taxing marijuana might be reinvested and used to improve communities.

“This is among the most pressing things which will take place in my legislative career,” Ammons said. Democratic Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, who sponsored a bill that would enable those age 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, also spoke at the event. “It might allow households to grow up to five plants, but we’re thinking about whether that should only be for medical patients in the home. Law enforcement has worries about how you apply the house increase,” Steans said. Steans’ bill maintains that public consumption and driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal. The bill also enables landlords to adopt zero-tolerance policies.

Democratic Sen. Scott Bennett of Champaign said he’d like to visit a bill that legalizes recreational marijuana, however, stated he wishes to underline the importance of security and education. “We have to recognize that schooling is important,” he said. “We must educate the general public about when it is safe and when it is not safe.”

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