CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Illinois' top lawmaker had a warning for Governor JB Pritzker on Monday: his drive to legalize adult use of marijuana may fall short, at least for now.
That would leave a hole in the next state budget, requiring a reduction in spending.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan rarely says anything in public without careful planning. Making all the more momentous Madigan’s warning that two of Pritzker's top priorities could fall short of becoming law this year: legalizing sports betting and adult use of marijuana.
“Cannabis is widely available, yet you don't know what you're getting. You don't know who you're getting it from. We ought to regulate it and make sure that it's safe,” Pritzker said.
The governor's proposed budget counts on $170 million from fees and taxes on cannabis products. He hopes for another $220 million from legalizing wagers on sporting events.
An unconventional coalition is fighting the marijuana proposal -- including the Illinois NAACP and the state's Catholic bishops. They want the so-called social justice provisions in Pritzker’s 500-page bill -- including erasing records of marijuana-related crimes to be voted on separately from legalization.
“That should be a separate bill! We should not tie that bill to this just to get votes. I agree that some people may have been convicted wrongly,” said State Rep. Martin Moylan.
Even critics concede that marijuana's likely to win approval easily from the state senate. The real battle? Shaping up in the Illinois House.