CHICAGO – Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward Alderman and Democratic candidate for Illinois governor, issued the following statement in support of SB 316 and HB 2353 to legalize and regulate marijuana as state lawmakers and coalition partners hold their first subject matter hearing on the proposal in Chicago:
“Today, I reiterate my support for the bills introduced by state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy to legalize and tax marijuana in Illinois,” Pawar said.
“As history shows, prohibition creates a marketplace outside of the formal economy which is both unregulated and untaxed. Illinois needs to be looking for creative ways to raise new revenue to pay our bills, provide equitable funding for education and support social services, like universal child care. Taxing and regulating marijuana is a good start.”
SB 316 and HB 2353 are projected to generate between $349 and $699 million in revenue each year, not including licensing or other fees.
“This is also a social justice issue because it will reduce how much we spend as a society arresting and jailing people for low-level nonviolent offenses. Our criminal justice system should be focused on reducing violence. This is a common sense solution and we should support this legislation which helps to address many long-standing social problems.”
Pawar worked with 47th Ward residents and neighborhood groups to allow the City of Chicago’s first medical cannabis dispensary.