Cook County commissioner wants to legalize marijuana in Illinois

A budtender pours marijuana from a jar at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A Cook County commissioner says he has a better way to bring in money: legalize recreational marijuana.

John Fritchey says legalizing pot will help in two ways. First -- it will relieve pressure on the jail and save millions in criminal justice costs.
Plus -- taxes on pot would be a cash cow.

“This policy would generate anywhere from $350 million to $700 million annually in new revenues for the state. And that doesn't include revenues for local taxation,” Fritchey said.

Public hearings on the pluses and minuses of legalizing cannabis have already been held by a couple of North Side Democratic lawmakers. But Governor Rauner is not a fan.

Other gubernatorial candidates are also skeptical.

“I think it's really dangerous to embrace something that's a public health hazard, simply because you want revenue. That’s what i think,” said Christopher Kennedy, Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois.

The proposed law would legalize possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana and allow shops to sell it to people over 21.