SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — Add a Republican senator from Central Illinois to the growing list of Illinois lawmakers who say the state should legalize recreational marijuana.
State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) says he is ready to support legal, recreational marijuana if the law is written correctly.
Barickman says that way he can try and shape how a legal, recreational marijuana program will work. And he can shape how the hundreds of millions of dollars that Illinois could see in new taxes is spent.
“I would like to see these revenues pay down our backlog of bills, our debt, our pension liabilities,” Barickman said. “I’d like to see us move our income tax rates.”
Industry experts say legal, recreational marijuana in Illinois could be worth as much as $700 million a year.
Barickman said he’s ready to vote yes for legal marijuana, but not to co-sponsor the plan. He expects other Republicans to also endorse marijuana, and he hopes Gov. Bruce Rauner changes his mind.
Barickman said marijuana supporters are modifying the existing legalization legislation. He hopes to see a new plan in February of 2018.
Lawmakers could vote next year, but many speculate that a vote won’t occur until after the November 2018 gubernatorial election.
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.
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