Legalizing Marijuana Draws Dozens to McLean County Meeting

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) — Getting down to the business of trying to legalize marijuana drew dozens out to a McLean County forum today.

The Chamber of Commerce event at the Bloomington DoubleTree hotel. State Senator Jason Barickman told the crowd he wants safeguards for young people and impaired drivers.

But he also feels that prohibition of cannabis hasn’t worked.

“If this is going to be the law of the land, we need to make sure that our business community is well represented at that negotiating table. And that any law that’s put in place doesn’t have a negative impact on employers,” Barickman said (R-Bloomington).

“I think all of those numbers are a bit premature. It all depends on how you do it, where you set your tax rates. But there’s certainly going to be an economic impact.”

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates state and local government could haul in more than $500 million dollars in new tax revenue if cannabis were legal for recreational use in Illinois.

That report also estimated more than 20,000 jobs would be created to support the growing industry.

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