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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Rep. Chesney has his doubts – many of them – about legal marijuana in Illinois

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Dec 30, 2019

Illinois state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport)

It would be an understatement to say that House Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) was not in favor of the bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in Illinois, effective Jan. 1.

“Another disaster policy decision in Illinois,” Chesney posted on Facebook. “All of the expected revenue will ultimately be spent on more government programs to combat drug addiction. Revenues will ultimately fall and taxpayers will be paying the entire bill.”

As of Wedenesday, residents across much of the state will be able to legally purchase and own recreational marijuana stemming from the passage of House Bill 1438 last summer. The bill allows residents 21 and older to purchase and be in possession of up to 30 grams, or one ounce, of cannabis flower at any given time.

In addition, growers of the plant can have up to five privately home-grown plants for personal use, while local communities have the authority to determine how cannabis-related businesses can legally set up shop in their neighborhoods. Chesney has long stood in opposition to the whole idea, arguing that very little about it ever works as advertised.

“Well, if you take a look at what it’s done in Colorado, homelessness has gone up, DUI’s have gone up,” Chesney told MyStateline.com. “There’ve been many, many factors to which those who are in opposition of this would point as the result of legalization of marijuana.”

The Republican lawmaker argues that chief among the critics are law enforcement agents.

“Our men and women in uniform are strongly in opposition to this,” Chesney said. “We can all go back to when we were kids and we participated in D.A.R.E. [Drug Abuse Resistance Education]. This was a drug we were told not to partake in and now, to legalize it, when no successful state has done so, is going to be very, very problematic.”

Illinois will become the 11th state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use.

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Illinois State Representative Andrew S. Chesney

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