Jan. 1, 2020, will mark the date when Illinois becomes the 11th state to fully legalize marijuana, but cities across the state are working to fight dispensaries from popping up in towns, raising concerns and doubts across the United States for the implications in policy and the consequences that legalizing the drug may bring about.
Four out of six trustees in Plainfield, Illinois, were opposed to having marijuana in town, according to Patch.com, an independent media website.
“They’re counterproductive to the things we’ve done to make the quality of life here,” Trustee Margie Bonuchi said. “I want no part of this.”
“I’ve got issues across the board,” Trustee Kelly Larson said.
“Why you would legalize this stuff is beyond me,” said Trustee Kevin Calkins.
“There’s so many things that are going unanswered,” said Mayor Michael P. Collins.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is against the legalization of marijuana, said he would like to hold a hearing before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control of which he is a co-chair, on the health impacts of legalizing weed and specifically high-THC concentration products.
“It’s a new ballgame, with higher concentrations of the drugs, the challenges that brings to public safety, to individual mental health, and also the consequences of being a gateway to some of these other drugs, certainly interacting with criminal organizations that peddle illegal drugs,” the senator said at a Hudson Institute event on tackling transnational crime in July.
Jennifer Bruzan Taylor is a stay-at-home mom in Naperville, Illinois who has spoken against allowing recreational pot sales at three different public meetings on the issue, according to Politico.
“I’m not stupid. I know people smoke marijuana. But we’re talking about the normalization,” the Illinois mother said. “People think it’s like having a beer or a cigarette because you see your parents doing it or your neighbors doing it. We already have enough normalization of vices.”
Tennessee state Treasurer David Lillard Jr. sold the soon-to-be-legal recreational marijuana cultivation company held by San Diego-based Innovative Industrial Properties, believes that “there are policy implications” to legalizing marijuana.
“When I became aware of the risks associated with IIP’s business model in light of federal law, I requested the investments staff to sell the stock.”
Lillard’s primary concern revolves around the Controlled Substances Act, which states that it is illegal to “knowingly open, lease, rent, use or maintain any place, whether permanently or temporarily, for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance” under which marijuana remains despite Illinois’s and other states’ intentions to legalize it.
Earlier this year, efforts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey failed after Democrats were unable to garner sufficient support for the measure, derailing Gov. Phillip D. Murphy’s campaign pledge and left the cannabis legalization movement in doubt, The New York Times reported.
Numerous African American lawmakers see more harm than good in legalizing marijuana, believing the cons far outweigh the pros.
“The public has not properly been educated on the topic of recreational marijuana,” said Sen. Ronald L. Rice, (D-N.J.) who vehemently opposes the legalization of marijuana. “People don’t realize, particularly people in urban communities, how it will affect their lives. In urban communities, neighborhoods will struggle against the spread of ‘marijuana bodegas’ disguised as dispensaries.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said in an interview that his “concern had been that legal recreational marijuana has not dealt with the damage that has been disproportionately suffered by blacks and other people of color, and is just setting up people to make a lot of money.”