April 1, 2019

March 13, 2018, Illinois

Gubernatorial candidates in Illinois are at odds regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis. Democratic candidates are in favor while Republican candidates are opposing this suggestion. Six Democratic candidates are contesting in primaries and all of them are advocates of cannabis legalization.

On the other side of the aisle, both the GOP candidates are opposing adult-use legalization and also raising concerns on MMJ pilot program of the state, which is going to expire in 2020.

The program was put in effect in 2015 by Gov. Bruce Rauner but he doesn’t favor its expansion and also opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana. Let’s have a look on what Illinois gubernatorial candidates think of cannabis legalization.

Even though all Democratic candidates are in favor of legalization, but they have dissimilar approaches towards its implementation. Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy, Bob Daiber, J.B. Pritzker, Robert Marshall and Tio Hardiman are going to contest Democratic Primaries on March 20. Biss, Pritzker and Kennedy are considered front runners for the Democratic nomination. All three of them share comparable rationale to move forward with legalization. There are two common points in their rationale for cannabis legalization:

Democratic candidates are in favor of legalization
Democratic candidates are in favor of legalization – Image powered by Chicago.suntimes.com
  • To significantly increase the state revenue
  • To free law enforcement agencies and judicial institutes from overwork of minor cannabis cases

According to some rough estimates, tax generation from legalized cannabis market can surpass the figure of $9 billion dollars in few years after its commencement. On the other hand, Illinois is among one of the 12 states where the most cannabis-related arrests happen.

Cannabis-related arrests also provoke the tangent of racial disparity because majority of the arrestees are African-Americans while they only make 15 percent of the total population of the state.

The remaining three Democratic candidates have different views regarding the legalization. For instance, Daiber wants it to be a prerogative of the voters to approve or reject adult-use cannabis. While Hardiman, a Chicago based activist, wants to decriminalize cannabis and only favors minor amounts for adult-use marijuana.

On the GOP side, Bruce Rauner (incumbent governor) and Jeanne Ives both rally against the legalization of recreational cannabis. Rauner terms the adult-use legalization in other states as human experiment. He signed a decriminalization bill in 2016 for minor cannabis crimes, stating them as “drain on taxpayer dollars”. But now Rauner says he will be very cautious in signing the next legislation regarding any further decriminalization.

Democratic candidates have different views
Democratic candidates have different views – Image powered by Patch.com

Meanwhile, Ives thinks that legalizing recreational cannabis is a bad idea to address the state’s tax problems.

Medical cannabis program of the state, which is already one of the most limited MMJ legislation in the country, has been largely ignored in these gubernatorial debates. Even though every democratic candidate pledges to make it permanent and to expand the list of medical conditions, none of them except Biss has shared a detailed plan regarding MMJ.

Rauner has a baffled approach towards MMJ legalization. In the past, he signed a bill to add two new qualifying conditions to the program. But he is still reluctant to make the program a permanent part of legislation. Ives is against any type of cannabis legalization and voted against the MMJ pilot program.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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