Reasons to oppose SB 7 - recreational marijuana

May 8, 2019

Contact Ed Wojcicki, 217.414.7790
[email protected]

The bill that would commercialize and legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois, SB 7, was introduced this week. Here are the major reasons that the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police strongly opposes the bill. We are working closely with the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association in our opposition. We share much of the same language in our statements and perspectives on this issue.

  • This bill contains known and documented public safety risks. It does nothing to alleviate our belief that there will be more traffic fatalities and more incidents leading to emergency room visits.
  • The bill sponsors ignored most of the major objections we described to them directly and to the Governor’s Office in the past twelve to eighteen months.
  • The bill contains many loopholes that will allow recreational marijuana to go largely unregulated.
  • Enforcement will prove to be difficult and next to impossible in some cases.
  • There is still no reliable device available now that would allow officers to test whether drivers are impaired by marijuana. Increased scientific research is needed to develop objective marijuana impairment standards for automobile operation, workplace safety, and medical effectiveness. But we cannot do that now.
  • “Home grows” are allowed - up to five flowering plants in a household, in a secure, locked location. Checking for violation of this provision, as a practical matter, is almost impossible.  Proponents admitted that basically, enforcing home grow limits is not done in other states.
    • Allowing home grows makes it especially difficult to regulate recreational marijuana.
    • Allowing home grows would allow the cartels to set up in Illinois as they have done in Colorado, California and Washington, and bring with them the corresponding crimes, such as incidents of violent robberies, shooting, and other violent crimes.
    • There is no way to monitor, like we do for prescriptions, if someone goes from one dispensary and purchases 30 grams and then proceeds to another dispensary.
    • We encouraged that the regulatory framework already in place for medical marijuana be utilized for any licensing, keeping tight controls over growth, distribution, and sales. The rules for recreational marijuana are, by contrast, wide open.
  • This bill goes way beyond expungement of a person’s record for possession of small amounts of marijuana. It would also require expunging the records of some felons, including people who knew they were illegally distributing large amounts of illegal drugs. And the timeline for actually doing this is unrealistic. There are other ways achieve the same outcome for cases of minor possession.
  • There is not enough protection for teens and children. School Resource Officers in Illinois earlier this year reported an increase in marijuana incidents in their schools. This will get worse under this bill.
  • This process needs to slow down so that we can truly learn from mistakes made in other states.