DOWNTOWN — The lead sponsor of medical marijuana in the General Assembly said he's taking a wait-and-see approach for now in the legalization debate.
State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said the state has to prove it can handle medical marijuana first after it was enacted last year.
"I would prefer to wait, just to make sure this rolls out correctly," Lang said, after the huge tax revenues brought in by Colorado with the new year reignited the debate over legalization last week. "If this doesn't roll out right, there's no way full legalization is going to roll out.
"There will be some who want to jump the gun and propose it," Lang added. "And there are some proposing a middle ground, where we don't legalize it, necessarily, but we decriminalize it and make it a small misdemeanor. So there are a lot of different ideas out there."
Including those opposed to any sort of decriminalization or legalization of marijuana. Last year, when the debate on medical marijuana was raging in the General Assembly, Dr. John Peterson, president of the Illinois Society of Addiction Medicine, spoke out against it, saying he had "extreme concern" about the drug gaining acceptance. Peterson added that pot use exposed "patients to unsafe, cancerous chemicals through an unsafe route of administration, smoking."
Yet the potential $100 million to be raked in by Colorado this year in taxes on recreational marijuana caught the eye of Ald. Joe Moreno (1st). Moreno also has said he's studying the issue, while not yet backing any action on it in the City Council.