Pubdate: Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Copyright: 2018 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Jake Griffin


East Dundee Republican state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, left, has
co-sponsored a bill introduced by Chicago Democratic state Rep. Kelly
Cassidy to legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use throughout the
state is being revised to gain more bipartisan support in an effort to
secure a veto-proof majority.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sen. Heather Steans introduced the
bills last year, but the Chicago Democrats are rewriting some aspects
to make the legislation more attractive to Republican

East Dundee Republican state Rep. Allen Skillicorn has endorsed
Cassidy's bill and signed on as a co-sponsor, arguing recreational use
could be an economic boon for parts of the state that are suffering
financially. State Sen. Jason Barickman, a Bloomington Republican, has
co-sponsored Steans' bill.

Cassidy and Skillicorn met Friday with the Daily Herald editorial
board to discuss the legislation.

Cassidy said having Republican support for the legislation would help
get the law implemented this year because Gov. Bruce Rauner has
signaled he would veto such a bill. Democrats have a veto-proof
majority in the Senate, but they would need at least five Republicans
in the House to override a gubernatorial veto even if every Democrat
supported the bill.

Cassidy estimates legalization for recreational use would generate
between $350 million and $700 million in sales taxes alone annually.
Because the marijuana would have to be grown in the state, even more
money would be generated through excise taxes as well as ancillary
financial benefits related to tourism and a reduction in law
enforcement and court time devoted to marijuana cases.

"The common thread for all of us is that prohibition hasn't worked,"
Cassidy said. "And we're not inventing anything fresh here. We can
learn from the successes and regrets of the states that have already
done this."

Skillicorn said he supports the bill because it has the ability to
create jobs and business opportunities in economically depressed
downstate regions.

"But ultimately the drug war hasn't worked," Skillicorn said.

The law would allow residents age 21 and over to possess up to 28
grams -- or about one ounce -- of marijuana for personal use. It would
be taxed at a maximum of 20 percent and cap additional local
government taxes to an additional 2 percent. Under the current
proposal, 30 percent of the new revenue would go to education, 20
percent to public health prevention and educational initiatives, and
50 percent to the state's general fund.

Communities could opt out of allowing sales, but they would not be
eligible for any of the revenue split, Cassidy said.

Cassidy said the bills have the support of Democratic legislative
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt