SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — A Republican state senator recently stated that there are more important things to ask Illinois voters than the proposed referendum to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) stated in a March 1 debate on the floor of the Illinois Senate that the legalization of marijuana is not a top priority for a statewide referendum in a financially strapped Prairie State.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, with Vermont being the sole state to legalize it through the state legislature.
The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 2275 (SB2275), sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), would form the Marijuana Legalization Referendum Act — which would create a statewide advisory non-binding public question to be submitted to voters in the November 6 general election. The question presented would be if individuals support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, subject to regulation and taxation similar to that of tobacco and alcohol.
McCarter feels that a referendum question like term limits are more important.
“I think it would be an interesting thing to find out from citizens on whether or not they think that would be a good thing,” McCarter said.
While Cunningham agrees that Illinois is facing major problems and he appreciated the concerns voiced in the debate, but noted that it is secondary to the fact that the question must be asked to the voting public.
“This is not a small issue, I think this is a pretty important issue,” Cunningham said.
“However, we don’t have in this state which has been kind of unique to this debate is the opportunity for the public to voice their opinion. That’s why I think this is an appropriate advisory ballot question,” Cunningham said. “Therefore, I think it is well-advised for us in the General Assembly before we possibly take a vote on this issue, to find out what are voters think.”
McCarter was not moved, stating, “I object to this bill and I will not be voting in favor of it.”
SB2275 passed 37-13, allowing the question to be on the November ballot.
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