Advocates for legal marijuana in Illinois may want to look to Massachusetts this fall. Or, as one cannabis industry insider said, they may want to look to Massachusetts' neighbors in about a year.
Nick Kovacevich, CEO at the cannabis packaging company Kush Bottles, said that if marijuana supporters in Illinois want to know when this state will legalize it, they need to look to Massachusetts in November, then to the state's neighbors about a year after that.
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"If Massachusetts approves legal marijuana, you'll have a small state surrounded by large populous states. Now you'll have all of them flooding into Massachusetts to buy cannabis legally," Kovacevich said. "But the only state that will benefit from that is Massachusetts."
Kovacevich said you can look at how states have approached casinos. It was only when residents started going to casinos in neighboring states that lawmakers embraced gambling.
"States will start to say, 'Hey, we're missing the boat here. We need to legalize and get adult use of cannabis in our state so we can keep some of those tax dollars for our citizens,'" Kovacevich said.
Kovacevich said Illinois is on its way to legal marijuana. The state has a growing medical marijuana program and just decriminalized small amounts of pot.