In 2015, Illinois joined 28 other states that offer access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. Recently, advocates and some politicians have begun steering the legalization conversation toward expanding access to marijuana in this state for recreational use.
New Tactics in the War on Drugs
Although the federal government still considers cultivation, possession, distribution, and use of marijuana a crime, several states across the country have begun enacting laws decriminalizing marijuana. In addition to the variety of medicinal qualities researchers have identified, some lawmakers consider the legal sale of marijuana an emerging and untapped source of revenue. Here are some of the events that have helped shift the conversation about marijuana legalization:
- In addition to the 29 states that offer access to medical marijuana, eight states have legalized its sale for recreational use.
- Last year, Illinois passed laws to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.
- In 2018, five more states will take steps toward full legalization.
- In debt-ridden Cook County, one elected official is touting legalization as a means of easing the tax burden on residents while generating millions of dollars in sales tax revenue.
- In a 2016 Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans reported favoring marijuana legalization.
- Democratic candidates in the 2018 Illinois Governor’s election have made statements indicating endorsement of full legalization.
In addition to accessing a new source of tax revenue, legalization advocates believe that complete decriminalization would lower expenses related to the arrest, court appearance, and incarceration of marijuana offenders.
The Case for Full Legalization Grows
While the United States is currently in the throes of what is described as an epidemic of addiction and death related to prescription pain relievers, many treatment professionals consider marijuana a weapon in the country’s growing opioid problem. Other statistics from states with legalized marijuana laws support the case:
- Colorado has reported no increase in juvenile use of marijuana or traffic accidents since enacting laws permitting recreational marijuana use.
- Washington has reported falling crime rates since legalizing marijuana in 2012.
- California has indicated that crime increases in areas where marijuana dispensaries close.
Work With an Experienced Illinois Criminal Drug Defense Attorney
Although laws pertaining to the possession of marijuana have changed over the years, it remains critical to retain a knowledgeable defense attorney when facing drug charges. Seek the counsel of a knowledgeable Will County drug crime defense attorney who will review your case and build a solid and aggressive defense on your behalf. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. examines the details of every case with meticulous care to ensure nothing is overlooked. Contact our offices today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation.