Max Bender

The top two candidates for Illinois’ upcoming gubernatorial election — but not voters — are split on the issue of cannabis legalization, the Chicago Tribune reports.

During his governorship, incumbent candidate Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has been timid at best on even minimal cannabis reforms. He has stated multiple times in the past that he is “very much opposed” to legalization and his campaign recently issued a statement calling legalization a “much newer and more complex issue that should not be considered by the state of Illinois until all possible positive and negative effects are understood.”

Meanwhile, challenging candidate J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, says he is in favor of legalizing the plant because it would generate between $350 to $700 million in taxes while improving safety and racial justice throughout Illinois. Pritzker has also promised to make sure minority communities who were most adversely affected by cannabis prohibition will be involved in running the new industry.

“J.B. knows we can legalize marijuana in a safe way that will benefit communities across Illinois and he is ready to do that as governor.” — JB Pritzker for Governor Campaign, via the Chicago Tribune

The majority of Illinois voters — like the rest of the U.S. — approve of cannabis legalization. The state, however, does not allow for citizen-driven ballot initiatives, so any substantial cannabis reforms will need to come out of the state legislature and receive the governor’s signature.


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