BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) — Count McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage among the opponents of recreational marijuana legalization in Illinois.
“Illinois has already decriminalized marijuana, but this is a proposal to commercialize an industry and product with proven cognitive, health and safety concerns,” said Sandage. “Legalization doesn’t eliminate the black market. Instead, cartels tend to thrive, expand and profit even more as pot and drug usage becomes more prevalent.”
Sandage’s thoughts echo the position of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, which joined the Illinois NAACP, the Catholic Conference of Illinois and other organizations last week in opposition to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recreational cannabis proposal.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is demanding changes to Senate Bill 7 if legalization moves forward, including discouragement of impaired driving, removing the “home grow” proposal in the bill, and pulling back on expungements for people convicted of cannabis-related crimes.
Law enforcement also said they have inadequate resources to deal with the ramifications of marijuana legalization.
Proponents of the plan said prohibition of cannabis hasn’t worked. They extol the social justice and economic benefits of legalization and expungement.
The bill is awaiting action in the Senate.