Colorado has already legalized marijuana and raked in $2 million in tax revenue from licensed dispensaries in just the first month of sales. So which state will follow in its foot steps?
Officials in Illinois think it’s time to “legalize it.” A solid number of elected officials attended a press conference in Chicago calling for legalization — including State Representatives Kelly Cassidy, Christian Mitchell and Mike Zalewski. “This is an idea whose time has more than come,” Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said at the press conference, according to NBC Chicago. “It’s policy that makes sense from a criminal justice standpoint, from an economic standpoint [and] from a revenue standpoint.”
Colorado’s overall tax revenues have accumulated to about $7 million since the state legalized weed in January. Illinois, meanwhile, became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana, a law that took effect earlier in the year but is strictly regulated. A person can’t be prescribed more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana over the course of two weeks, and medical marijuana can only be bought from one of 60 state-regulated dispensaries.
At the press conference, officials in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana argued that the War on Drugs hasn't been effective, and that marijuana can rake in economic benefits to the state. “The main difference between the War on Drugs and Prohibition is that, after 40 years, this country still hasn’t acknowledged that the War on Drugs is a failure,” Fritchey said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The group advocating for weed still has a long ways off, however. They are hoping to garner support among Democrats in the General Assembly first, in order to create a task force for the project. “We can find a way to do this and look at what other states have done, and cherry pick the good ideas, dismiss the bad ideas and find a workable policy that recognizes what we’re doing now simply isn’t right,” Fritchey said.