2018 is a major election year, and one where many people believe marijuana legalization will play a factor. But apparently the governor of Illinois hopes the anti-cannabis crowd comes out in full force.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, said in an interview that he would veto any recreational marijuana bill passed by the state legislature if it reached his desk. He also noted that the expansion of the state's medical marijuana program under his watch only occurred because it passed under his predecessor.
“Medical marijuana was approved before I became governor…I think there are some appropriate medical uses for that and we’re monitoring it,” Rauner said. “Recreational marijuana, just for personal use, I think is a huge experiment. We don’t know. And the drug has changed—marijuana has changed a tremendous amount over the last 30-40 years. It’s very, very potent. We don’t know how it impacts the developing brain. We don’t know what it does to pregnant women. We don’t know a lot of things.”
Rauner is up for re-election right now. While he does have a primary challenger in the Republican Party, he's largely expected to get the nomination again. Meanwhile, the three top candidates for the Democratic nomination have all signaled their support for marijuana legalization.
Marijuana could become a major issue in the Illinois governors' race. The state legislature is considering allowing a referendum this fall that would ask Illinois voters' whether they would approve of marijuana legalization. The referendum would be non-binding, meaning it wouldn't actually change any laws, but it could create a momentum for recreational cannabis legalization.
Of course, that would probably require getting Rauner out of office. But considering he's one of the least popular governors in America, that may not be too hard.