In an interview with WSIL-TV in Marion yesterday, Gov. Bruce Rauner officially announced his opposition to ending the harmful policy of cannabis prohibition in Illinois. The governor wrongly claimed we don’t yet know the effects of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, despite significant data available from states like Washington and Colorado, which both ended prohibition five years ago.
By announcing his stance, the governor is saying no to new jobs and to hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) in much-needed revenue for the state, and saying yes to allowing criminal enterprises to continue their control of a thriving and unregulated market. An estimated 750,000 Illinoisans consume marijuana monthly despite its prohibition — consumers who will likely continue to make illicit purchases whether it’s regulated or not. That money should go to our state and not into the pockets of drug cartels.
Chicago is one of the U.S. cities most closely associated with the failure of prohibition policies, and today, violence and harm continue on its streets. Instead of perpetuating a system that contributes to crime, revenue from taxing marijuana could be used to help prevent it.
Please make sure everyone in your network knows about Gov. Rauner’s misguided position. If you are an Illinois resident, please send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults.
The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board agreed last week to recommend adding eight new medical conditions to Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program. The conditions are chronic pain syndrome, autism, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain due to trauma, chronic post-operative pain, intractable pain, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The department previously rejected the advisory board’s recommendation that it approve 11 conditions. At the time it noted that the program was not yet fully up and running, but now with at least one dispensary opening this month, that reasoning no longer applies. Just yesterday, Harbory in Marion, Illinois became the first dispensary to open in the state.
These changes would significantly improve the state program. The medical cannabis program recognizes only a narrow range of conditions, and Illinois is in the minority of medical marijuana states when it comes to options for patients with serious pain. In addition, an increasing number of medical marijuana states recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Seriously ill patients in Illinois should not be left behind. The state should listen to its team of experts and adopt these conditions without delay.