Illinois State Senator Andy Manar is on the fence about legalization of marijuana in his state. To determine whether he is alone, and to learn more about potential legalization moves, Manar has organized a town hall meeting for Monday in Springfield.
Manar, D-Bunker Hill, noted that a meeting like this will allow people to get more information on the topic and make better, more informed decisions on the matter.
Meanwhile, Sen. Heather Steans and Representative Kelly Cassidy, both Democrats representing Chicago, have already introduced legislation and held multiple talks regarding it with their political counterparts.
The duo will be on hand for the town hall meeting, prepared to answer questions and talk about the proposal they have laid out.
A statement posted to Sen. Steans’ website gives a preview of some of the topics that may be covered. Steans’ statement discusses the potential revenue for the state if marijuana was legalized, putting the number at $669 million. Meanwhile, job growth is another topic that came up during a joint Senate and House hearing where this information was shared.
Steans notes that a report by New Frontier Data shows that around 250,000 jobs can be created throughout the U.S. as a result of marijuana legalization by 2020. A portion of that job growth would be a welcome change in Illinois, as it would be in many states.
The creation of new small businesses, a necessary and logical progression from the move to legalize marijuana, would also be welcome for Illinois, according to Steans.
For others, like travel writer and television host Rick Steves, the legalization is less about the drugs and more about the government control of decisions for its citizens. Steves spoke at the hearing and noted his support of civil liberties and disapproval of prohibition factored in more heavily than his opinion on drugs themselves.
Steves noted that there is a common sense approach to the turning tide of approval for marijuana in the U.S., and his home state of Washington has already joined the states accepting and adjusting for that. His opinion is that, rather than build new prisons, legalization is the logical solution to a problem and a better move.
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