Editorial | Marijuana slowdown?

Editorial | Marijuana slowdown?

A majority of Illinois House members have signed onto a resolution that vaguely urges lawmakers "to slow the process of legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois." That is a good idea, given that lawmakers are still negotiating privately what form legal recreational marijuana in Illinois would take.

The rush to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois — seemingly a given a month ago — has slowed with a resolution sponsored by Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, that calls for a timeout.

Lawmakers, says Moylan's resolution, "should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues but should consider the health and safety of Illinoisans as their first priority when considering the question of legalization."

As of Friday, the measure had 60 co-sponsors, just over half of the House membership and presumably enough to block passage of a recreational marijuana bill in the House. Among those listed as co-sponsors were Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons of Urbana and area Republicans Tom Bennett of Gibson City, Dan Caulkins of Decatur, Mike Marron of Fithian, Dan Brady of Bloomington and Brad Halbrook of rural Shelbyville.

The resolution is up for a committee hearing on Tuesday.

Moylan said earlier this month that, "The more information you have about this bill, the more people are against it."

There is actually no agreed bill yet, since supporters are still working with Gov. J.B. Pritzker on the details of legalizing recreational marijuana. That's part of the problem since it's unclear how much pot or how many pot plants a person could possess, as well as a host of other questions.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, argues that the issue has been debated for years and that is the subject of ongoing town hall meetings.

"There's nothing rushed about this at all," she told the Chicago Tribune. "This has gotten way more attention and scrutiny than pretty much anything I've ever worked on here."

Yet, as Moylan's resolution states, there's plenty of unresolved concerns about driver impairment, availability to young people, the effect on people with mental health disorders and even whether legal pot leads to homelessness. Some of these concerns may be red herrings but they ought to be debunked or disproven in full, open legislative hearings before Illinois takes this significant step.

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