Des Plaines Democrat leads effort to slow recreational marijuana legalization
SPRINGFIELD -- A Des Plaines Democrat's resolution to slow down legalization of recreational marijuana is getting support.
With the General Assembly on spring break until April 30, advocacy groups are working to get their points across on the topic.
State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, said she expects an amendment to be filed on her adult-use legalization legislation -- Senate Bill 7, now a shell bill awaiting final language -- by the end of April.
While details of the bill have not been released publicly in an official capacity, 60 state representatives have signed onto a resolution by state Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, urging lawmakers to "slow the process of legalizing recreational marijuana."
On Tuesday, a mental health advocacy group urged caution in the legalization process as well, noting that legalization will come with a behavioral health care impact, particularly on teens, and lawmakers "must be ready to pony up the money to pay for care."
Illinois Association for Behavioral Health CEO Sara Howe said data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows the average rate of regular teen marijuana use in the legalized states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington is 30 percent higher than the U.S. rate as a whole.
Howe said the association is ready to help lawmakers "in crafting a well thought out and carefully implemented policy," but funding will need to be provided for such measures.
"We cannot and under no circumstances should be expected to prevent or treat the increase in substance use or mental health disorder diagnoses without a significant and permanent increase in monetary resources -- to not do so is simply naive and ignores the reality of what will occur in communities," she said in the release.