clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A bill that does more harm than good is the wrong way to legalize marijuana

Ericka Hogan, cultivation manager at Illinois Grown Medicine, spreads medical marijuana branches to allow light penetration for proper flower development in the cultivation center's flowering room in Elk Grove Village, Monday morning, May 6, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

On May 4, legislation was unveiled in Illinois that would create a sanctioned marijuana industry in the state.

I was deeply concerned when I read the text — I could hardly believe that the bill sponsors would, in the name of public health and “community restoration,” propose a system so clearly designed to sell as much marijuana and THC products to our community as possible.

SEND LETTERS TO letters@suntimes.com: Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Consider:

• This bill sets no THC caps whatsoever.

• It allows for advertising of marijuana products.

• It allows sale of high-potency THC extracts, which have been shown, time and time again, to be linked to the development of psychosis and schizophrenia.

• It allows for the sale of THC-laced candies, chocolates and other edibles.

• It allows for sale to individuals as young as 21, when their brain has not finished developing, and marijuana has been shown to, literally, alter the physical shape of the brain.

• It allows for a pot shop to open as little as 1,000 feet from a school. That’s less than one-fifth of a mile or about a three-minute walk.

This is not what a public health-driven drug policy change looks like.

If we alter our drug policy, it should be to reduce the number of drug users in Illinois. This bill will do the exact opposite.

We deserve better than this. And we can do better.

I call on our elected officials to make the choice to stand up and protect those they represent, reject this façade of a bill and insist on developing a better one — one developed in conjunction with healthcare experts.

To anyone who shares my concerns: please reach out to your lawmakers immediately.

They listen to who leaves messages and they do pay attention to how many of their constituents write them e-mails. Now is the time to speak up. The bill is set to be voted on before the current legislative session ends on May 31.

Let’s work together to push back against big business interests and keep our community healthy, safe and productive.

Aaron Weiner, PhD, ABPP, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of Addiction Services, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health

A tax problem no one talks about

Do you shop at four different grocery stores, because one has cheaper milk and another has cheaper produce? Does it bother you that the rich pay the same as you for a gallon of milk?

What?

Oh, you hadn’t thought of that?

Everything in life is a heavier burden to pay for with a lower income. A $100 food bill hurts you more if you’re making $400 a week compared to $800.

Illinois wants to change this with regard to taxes. Five per cent of your income for taxes is a heavier burden for those with less money. For a richer person, it’s more of a minor inconvenience.

There is a problem here.

When we have a graduated income tax, the government decides how much of our own money we get to keep. The government acts as if the money belongs to them, and they decide how big your allowance will be.

It’s no longer we the people whom the government serves, but it is we who serve the government.

We are slowly, gradually giving away our freedom, but because it is happening slowly, nobody is alarmed, nobody is concerned. It all seems so inevitable.

Larry Craig, Wilmette