Every town should ban pot in public places

Legislators thought video gambling would be limited only to bars, restaurants and veteran organizations. But video gambling machines are everywhere.

SHARE Every town should ban pot in public places

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the architect of the law legalizing recreational marijuana, throws her fist in the air on May 31 in celebration of the final votes to legalize recreational marijuana use in Illinois. She says decisions on allowing on-site marijuana consumption at public places are “up to the locals.” Ted Schurter / The State Journal-Register via AP

Illinois’ new marijuana law includes an exemption to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act ban on indoor smoking, and lets cities decide whether to allow on-site marijuana use at bars, restaurants, and cannabis smoking lounges, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy and her colleagues decided that social consumption of marijuana would be allowed, but not licensed by the state, leaving that up to local officials, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Public health and safety are concerns with on-site consumption.

Legislators thought video gambling would be limited only to bars, restaurants and veteran organizations. However, video gambling machines are everywhere, except in the 125 municipalities and counties where they are banned.

We could see a similar situation with marijuana unless local officials pass ordinances to ban recreational marijuana dispensaries, processing, transporting, cultivation facilities and on-site consumption of marijuana in municipalities and counties.

Living near marijuana dispensaries makes youth more likely to use marijuana, according to a study by the Rand Corp. Youth who use marijuana are more likely to experience negative consequences, such as increased risk of mental and physical health problems, according to the researchers.

Contact your mayor, city council and county board to ask for a ban on recreational marijuana businesses and on-site consumption.

Act now to protect your family and community before it is too late.

Anita Bedell, Executive Director

Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems

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

How can we prevent youth vaping?

Nicotine, touted as one of the most addictive and harmful substances on the planet, has found its way into the pockets of two million high school students across the nation in the misleading form of e-cigarettes.

Originally created as a way to wean addicted smokers off cigarettes, companies have found major success marketing such projects directly towards underaged high school students through targeted advertisements, deceptive candy flavors, and major holes in online background checks.

I was shocked to see that 93.7% of underaged youths participating in a study by the American Medical Association were able to purchase e-cigarettes successfully simply because websites lacked age-verification methods.

Being a high school student surrounded by the pressures of fitting in and the urge to try new things, I can fully attest to the deceptive allure of sleek candy-flavored tobacco products. I have friends who have fallen victim to such toxic and adversely life-altering poisons as nicotine through e-cigarettes.

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. Delauro, D-Connecticut, has introduced the Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019, which would categorize e-cigarettes and hookahs as legally-regulated tobacco products, ban the misleading tobacco flavors that have made e-cigarettes such a seductive product to underaged users, and modernize the government’s stance on youth vaping in the electronic era.

Souvik Ghosh, Palatine

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