The movement to make marijuana less unacceptable is rolling through Illinois. The Senate has passed a decriminalization measure for possession of up to 15 grams. It would be a civil offense with no jail time and a fine of up to $125. The bill will go to the governor once a companion bill regarding expungement is ready. State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) says if you agree with this, your priorities are out of whack.
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“A 20-year-old with one open beer (can be) charged with a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail,” McCarter said. “And I just ask you if you think that’s sensible. It’s not. This whole discussion is not sensible.”
The sponsor, State Sen. Mike Noland (D-Elgin), says messing around with pot should not ruin your life. “We have a president of the United States that, but for the fact he was not caught or was not otherwise revealed that he used marijuana at a very young age, that he might not be the president of the United States today,” Noland said of former State Sen. Barack Obama, who revealed his marijuana and cocaine use in his first book, Dreams from My Father. “This is a history-altering type of an occurrence that happens in the lives of our young people and ought not” happen.
The state’s medical marijuana program – if it ever results in any legal pot being grown, prescribed, sold, smoked, or eaten – could include post-traumatic stress disorder among the qualifying ailments.
A bill sponsored by State Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) has passed the Senate. “Last week, I lost a classmate … who, instead of deciding to talk it through,” Hastings said, “decided to drink himself to death.”
Hastings says had medical marijuana been available to PTSD patients such as his friend, the result may have been different.
H.B. 218 (decriminalization) has passed the Senate, 37-19.