A state legislator from the northwest suburbs on Monday implored Illinoisans to join him in throwing a wrench in the growing momentum to legalize marijuana in Illinois.
“There’s other ways to generate revenue, not on the backs of our kids and young adults who are going to be addicted and sucked into this,” state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, said during a news conference outside the Thompson Center.
His message comes two days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a legalization bill that would allow people 21 and older to possess 30 grams of recreational marijuana and grow up to five plants in their homes.
“They’re going to be growing it on the back porch and selling it on the front porch,” Moylan said. “Listen, do you want this stuff in your neighborhood?” he asked.
Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot released a statement Monday endorsing Pritzker’s plan as “an important step forward in creating a fair process for legalizing recreational marijuana.”
“More importantly, it allows Illinois the opportunity to put an end to a long overdue and unjust drug policy that has disproportionately affected Chicago’s black and brown neighborhoods for decades,” Lightfoot said.
Moylan said he’s not opposed to the criminal and social justice aspects in the bill, but those issues should be addressed in separate legislation.
He admitted he wasn’t sure a coalition of 60 of his House colleagues who signed a resolution urging more time to debate legalization issues would hold together.
“There may be some [who] are going to leave, but we’ll get more in,” said Moylan, who added he’d be against any effort to legalize recreational marijuana.
Asked if there were enough votes in the House to pass the legalization bill that Pritzker is promoting, Moylan said, “We’ll see.”
The 300-page bill that Pritzker revealed over the weekend would lift the statewide prohibition on marijuana and allow Illinois pot shops to start selling the drug legally by the start of the new year.
There is no scheduled vote on the bill, according to state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, a sponsor of the legislation.
“It’s a big bill, I’m sure there will be changes to make, but we want to vote on it before the end of May when the legislative session is over,” she said.