Illinois Lawmakers Say Recreational Weed Could Help State Budget Crisis

Lawmakers discussed ways the legalization of recreational marijuana could help Illinois’ state budget woes at a press conference Wednesday.

Two bills now in the General Assembly proposed by Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sen. Heather Steans would see a huge cash flow to the state from regulating legal marijuana, the lawmaker says.

“Rep. Cassidy and I are committed to gathering feedback about how legalizing recreational marijuana would affect the state from a large variety of interest groups,” Steans said in a news release. “We have received overwhelming support for this legislation but do not plan to move forward hastily. We want to ensure that there is ample time for organizations and individuals to present testimony and for us to adjust the legislation based on information presented in hearings.”

Barbara Brohl, the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, discussed how legalizing recreational marijuana has impacted Colorado. Karmen Hanson, the program director of the Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, also spoke about how legalizing marijuana effected other states.

“Senator Steans and I strongly believe that it’s time that Illinois had a new drug policy,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Legalizing recreational marijuana will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. We’re discussing all sorts of proposals to end the budget impasse, and we thought this should be part of the conversation as well.”

The first hearing will take place sometime next week.

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