There is a lot of activity right now in regards to marijuana reform efforts in Illinois. The battle to implement the medical marijuana law that was passed last session has been ongoing. Fortunately license winners have been announced, and hopefully safe access will be coming soon to Illinois’ roughly 1,000 medical marijuana patients. There is also a bill that has been introduced that would legalize marijuana. Yesterday, a Senate Committee in Illinois voted 13 to 1 to approve a marijuana bill that would lower penalties for marijuana possession. Per The Joint Blog:
If approved into law, the proposal would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis to a simple misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, down from a serious misdemeanor which can result in a 6 month jail sentence.
“I think you have members of both parties right now willing to look at some of our criminal sentences and make some common sense reforms to help control some of the costs in the system,” says Senator Jack Whitver.
I’m glad to see that this bill has some legs. However, it doesn’t go far enough. It still requires a jail sentence, albeit a lower one. I dream of a day when people in Illinois are not thrown into a jail cell and given a criminal record for a plant that is safer than alcohol.