On Tuesday, travel guru Rick Steves visited Illinois to advocate for legislation to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Steves joined Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and House Committee on Public Safety and Appropriations Chairwoman Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) for a news conference to discuss why Illinois lawmakers should support regulating and taxing marijuana. Immediately following the press conference, Steves testified in front of a joint hearing of the Illinois General Assembly.
From CBS Chicago:
“What we need to do is take that black market down and turn it into a highly regulated, highly taxed legal market so that we can gain credibility and focus on the real risk to young people in our society which is hard drug abuse,” Steves said.
Steves said prohibition does not work. He said this is not about being pro-pot. He knows it can be dangerous, but said it’s time to stop making it criminal.
His travels in Europe opened his eyes.
He also studied the effects legalization has had on Colorado and his home state of Washington. He said more people are not using it.
State Senators Kelly Cassidy and Heather Steans are the lead sponsors of the bill to regulate cannabis. They estimate legalization could generate up to $700 million for the state every year.
“It would enable individuals to buy and possess up to 28 grams or grow five plants, just for adult use,” Steans said.