Keep Illinois out of Big Marijuana’s costly grip

SHARE Keep Illinois out of Big Marijuana’s costly grip

Some studies have suggested a link between cannabis use in pregnant women with low birth-weight babies and impaired neurological development. | AP Photo/Steven Senne

Illinois dodged a bullet last year when the bill to legalize recreational marijuana failed. We must continue to keep Big Marijuana at bay so our state doesn’t fall into the trap other states have.

Every state that has legalized marijuana has seen its fair share of problems. Businesses in Colorado can’t find locals who can pass a drug test, so they are hiring from out of state. Worse, drugged driving is a growing issue in the states that offer recreational pot and more people are dying on the roads.

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The industry is hoping lawmakers and residents alike believe the lies and rhetoric it spews in the hopes of becoming the next Big Tobacco. That includes producing gummies, candies and sodas infused with marijuana that are deceptively marketed to children.

To maintain this Big Marijuana-free zone, the people of Illinois must remain strong and rebuff the false idea that the world is a better place with recreational pot.

David Goodknect, Bonfield

Move the Obama Center

I strongly disagree with the idea of locating the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. There are so many vacant, unused or underused parcels adjacent to the park, along Stony Island, that would increase the size of the park, not encroach on top of it.

Many of these parcels, including the site of the former Plaisance Hotel, were created by urban renewal. It remains an unfulfilled legacy. The OPC scheme for Jackson Park seems to take a page from P.T. Barnum. It includes projections of great wealth coming to all, a “world class attraction,” but I very much doubt this is going to bring much prosperity to local residents of the South Side.

Initially described as taking up a parcel between Cornell Drive and Stony, from the Midway to the front of Hyde Park Academy, it has now expanded to removing Cornell Drive, $176 million in roadway expansion, and those costs will go up.

A 240-foot tall central building, with several other buildings creating a “campus.” Why couldn’t the campus be Stony Island Avenue? Why confine it strictly to the park? Numerous facilities, including the new fieldhouse they somehow left out of the OPC design, could be added. It needs to have room to expand. Keep going douth down Stony, partner with existing cultural, as well as conventional business type partners. There is none of that around the current OPC location. Where are the opportunities for local businesses?

Finally, I don’t like the fact this idea gets dropped on the community with so little input. Parks are, by definition, open green spaces to give urbanites access to nature. To put this in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, on the National Register of Historic Places, seems to fly against what the president did while in office. Yes, we do occasionally build inside our parks. But not this size development.

Ross Petersen, former president, Jackson Park Advisory Council


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Grave concern

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S Supreme Court is a grave concern for people with disabilities across Illinois and the United States. Kavanaugh’s previous decisions hurt people with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act, and his appointment is a real threat to hard-won rights and protections for people with disabilities.

He would place disabled people at risk of inadequate health care, uphold fewer civil rights protections, eliminate opportunities of people with cognitive disabilities to make choices about their own lives and the limit the ability of the executive branch to enforce laws protecting people with disabilities. If Kavanagh is confirmed to the Supreme Court the future will be uncertain, including for myself in getting community supports through the program known as PUNS, which stands for Priority of Urgent Needed Services. This is because Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote to strips millions of people with disabilities from Medicaid and Home and Community Based Services, thus forcing millions into unwanted segregated institutions.

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh comes when I’m on the verge of getting my own housing after being on the statewide supportive housing list for a year and on the PUNS waiting list for seven years. I hope to get my own housing and home care services. But the future of community supports is uncertain for me, and thousands of others like me in Illinois.

I strongly urge the U.S Senate not to rush the confirmation process and to then block the appointment of Kavanaugh.

Curtis Harris, Gold Coast


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Lying under oath

By lying under oath before Congress, Brett Kavanaugh has revealed himself to be a deprived, political animal intent on furthering his own agenda over his duty to dispense the law. Kavanaugh should be denied a position on the Supreme Court. He should be removed from the D.C. Circuit as well.

Lee Knohl, Evanston

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