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Anti-Marijuana Advocates Say Illinois Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Would 'Pimp' Black and Hispanic Customers

Many believe Illinois will legalize recreational marijuana in the near future as incoming Governor J.B. Pritzker and many of the state's most influential politicians also support the endeavor. But one anti-cannabis advocate is making some unusual arguments against doing so.

While speaking at an anti-marijuana event in downtown Chicago yesterday, Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston of New Hope Baptist Church said that legalization will lead to cannabis companies "pimping" black and hispanic customers. Livingston argued that legalization would simply lead to white cannabis entrepreneurs selling marijuana to minority communities and increasing drug abuse rates.

“Profit is the motive,” Livingston said.

Many people argue that legalization will help black and hispanic communities since it will no longer allow police to arrest people in those communities for the victimless crime of marijuana possession. However Livingston noted that Illinois has already decriminalized marijuana, so legalizing it for recreational use won't make any difference in arrest rates.

Livingston also accused incoming Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker of having ulterior motives, noting that the governor-elect's cousin is an investor in a company that has financial interests in various e-cigarette and vape companies. However a spokesperson for the governor denied that Pritzker has any financial interests in those companies.

The governor's spokesperson also noted that Pritzker's plan to legalize marijuana includes efforts to include minority owned businesses in the cannabis industry and to help invest in the communities that have been targeted by the War on Drugs.

(h/t Chicago Tribune)

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