The issue of legalizing recreational use of marijuana is rising in profile this year. There are two bills in the General Assembly. Several Democratic candidates for governor have embraced the proposal, saying it would bring badly needed revenue to the state and reduce black market and gang control of an existing industry.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, though, bluntly opposed the idea last week in a WSIL television interview in Marion.
“I do not support legalizing marijuana. I think that’s a mistake. You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here,” said Rauner.
Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington-Normal is breaking with the governor on that issue. Barickman said he believes the idea is coming no matter what.
"The laws that are supported most widely by the public are those laws that have broad based bipartisan support. So, as Republicans, I think we need to sit at this negotiating table. I think we need to demonstrate our willingness to be open minded on this issue," said Barickman.
Top image: © Randall Runtsch | Dreamstime.com