Marijuana consumers in Illinois had their hopes up when Governor Bruce Rauner made an amendatory veto on House Bill 218, which would eliminate criminal penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis. Unfortunately, the Democrats decided to reject Rauner’s changes to the decriminalization bill, meaning small-amount marijuana remains to be a crime in the state.
It did not exactly make marijuana legal, but it would have placed the offense on par with a traffic violation. This could help thousands of Illinois marijuana users avoid jail and criminal convictions for the possession of personal cannabis.
“If we want to keep people out of our jail system, we have to take bold moves,” said state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, one of the sponsors of the bill.
However, she claimed that the rejection of the bill was not that disheartening, as this could be an impetus to make the legislation better. “I think it’s important that cooler heads prevail and we keep an eye on things we agree on and find a path to get those enacted into law,” she said.
With Illinois deep in debt, legalizing marijuana can give a much-needed boost to its economy. Colorado has already proven that there is revenue in weed, with monthly recreational cannabis sales topping $50 million and taxes amounting up to $117 million.
Decriminalizing weed can also reduce the number of prisoners incarcerated due to marijuana charges, hence alleviating overcrowded prisons. If a similar bill will not be approved by the legislature, pot users in Illinois will continue to face arrest and jail time for a relatively small offense.
Should Illinois legalize and decriminalize marijuana? Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.