Illinois Governor Denounces Recreational Marijuana with Re-Election Hopes Dimming

Incumbent Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is struggling in polls for re-election, but has decided to continue his strategy of not supporting marijuana legalization.

Rauner recently reaffirmed his position to only support medical marijuana legalization in Illinois. He noted that he signed a bill allowing people with opioid prescriptions to receive medicinal cannabis and believed that was a great policy. But he said Illinois should wait to legalize recreational marijuana and study legalized states before making any judgments.

“What I’ve done is visit governors of other states [where marijuana is legal] and medical professionals, and what most of them have recommended is that we in Illinois should wait and watch,” Rauner said. “Because they’re learning a lot of painful lessons. And it is not all been good.”

Rauner is also learning some painful lessons about how the people of Illinois see him. He's up for re-election next month running against Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker, who supports recreational marijuana legalization. Almost every poll in the past month shows Pritzker with at least a 10 point lead over Rauner (including one that says he's winning by an insane 22 points).

Many believed Rauner only signed a bill earlier this year to expand Illinois' medical marijuana program as a way to appeal to voters who support legalization, but obviously that has not helped.

(h/t WQAD)

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California may have been the first in the country to pioneer cannabis law reform, but the Golden State is still struggling to eliminate the black market and sell affordable, legal pot. In 1996, California voters passed Prop 215 to legalize medical marijuana. In the years immediately following its passage, medical cannabis was a small and largely unregulated affair.

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