Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is about to sign a historic bill that will essentially decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in his state. Although there have been specific advances with marijuana in terms of state and federal tolerances, Illinois will make this a historic event that will no doubt make waves across other states as well.
Illinois has long been considered a blue state, which is primarily how the state has leaned in most recent presidential and gubernatorial elections, with the exception of Republican Governor Rauner. But the left-leaning state has not been without its scandals, including at the highest level of office. But with the decriminalization of marijuana, the state is making a bold statement that even though it is trying to repair its reputation, they are still willing to do the right thing for their people.
There was, in fact, a previous edition to the marijuana decriminalization bill that had previously been presented to Illinois Governor Rauner. However, that bill fell into oblivion because Rauner said that version of the bill would have allowed people to get away with carrying too much marijuana with the fines being too low, according to the Chicago Tribune.
— Tribune Edit Board (@Trib_ed_board) May 14, 2016
In the current version of the marijuana decriminalization bill, people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana would receive fines instead of jail time. Those fines could range between $55 to $200 if someone is caught with small amounts of marijuana.
Although the current iteration of the bill is not perfect, it is likely a step in the right direction for people who suffer from chronic diseases and need some relief from their pain and suffering.
Marijuana has been a hot-button topic in recent years, with people and states fighting over how to proceed with the legalities of the naturally grown plant. Marijuana does indeed have some known healing and medicinal purposes, but it can also be abused by people who use it for the sole purpose of getting high.
In Illinois alone, the current law states that people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana and convicted of the misdemeanor crime could face up to six months in jail. On top of that, the law also allows for fines of up to $1,500. This would all be for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.
But there is an addendum to the Illinois bill that Rauner would sign, which would essentially allow for local municipalities to charge more fines to those who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. With that extra item attached to the bill, local governments could impose hefty fines on people who are caught with marijuana. That includes the localized places that have a more conservative element that controls government in the area, including Chicago.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) May 17, 2016
The marijuana decriminalization bill was sponsored by Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who just so happens to be a Democrat. Even though partisan politics could have been a factor, it seems as though there has been some negotiation on this bill that would allow both sides of the aisle to bargain and get something that they want.
“Illinois is long overdue for creating marijuana policies that treat our residents more fairly and free law enforcement up for more serious crime,” Cassidy said in a statement obtained by the Chicago Tribune. “We should not spend our resources arresting and jailing people just for the possession of a small amount of marijuana.”
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) May 18, 2016
Bruce Rauner is a Republican who holds the blue state’s highest office. It is fair to assume that he is bending here to give the populous what they want in regards to the marijuana bill considering he can still be up for reelection.
— Progress Illinois (@progressIL) May 14, 2016
Rauner has yet to sign the marijuana decriminalization bill, but all signs indicate that he will indeed follow through on it.
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