Illinois likely won’t legalize marijuana any time soon

Our Waukegan readers have probably already heard of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, expanding upon the medical marijuana statutes already in place. The two states are the first to take such a step, but it remains to be seen how things will play out.

Marijuana, after all, is still illegal under federal law, even for medical purposes. And there is also the issue of dealing with driving while under the influence of marijuana and other social problems that could result. This is undoubtedly why Illinois lawmakers have been hesitant to move in the direction of legalization.

Advocates of marijuana legalization say that it is unlikely the federal government would battle recreational use laws, since the federal government did not take any legal action against state medical marijuana laws which legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in the 1990s. Now, 17 other states have done the same, the most recent addition being Massachusetts. The federal government has not yet stated whether it will challenge the Colorado and Washington measures.

Back in 2008, a poll showed that 68 percent of Illinois residents supported medical marijuana. But legalization in Illinois is not likely to happen any time soon, since state legislators are still hung up on medical marijuana. Many lawmakers are worried that legalizing medical marijuana will result in the disorganization and ineffectiveness seen in some other states. And the fact that federal law hasn’t changed.

Source:, “Lawmakers say Illinois not ready for recreational marijuana law,” November 12, 2012

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Illinois likely won’t legalize marijuana any time soon