This editorial appeared in the May 19, 2019, edition of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald:
The unrelenting wave across the country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana began in 2012 when Colorado and Washington by way of referendum became the first states in the union to grant that liberty.
Two years later, Alaska and Oregon followed suit; two years after that, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada joined in. All six by referendum.
Two years ago, Vermont became the first state to approve legalization through action by the state legislature without a referendum.
Last year, Michigan became the latest state to legalize recreational use of marijuana when voters agreed to it through a referendum.
All told, that’s 10 states that have embraced that freedom in this decade. A movement toward pot clearly is afoot.
Frankly, we don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.
And that, it strikes us, is the problem as the General Assembly rushes toward a May 31 deadline to decide whether Illinois should become the 11th state on the list.
What’s the rush?
It seems clear that recreational marijuana hasn’t destroyed Colorado or Washington in the seven years since it was legalized.
But likewise, it’s also clear that we’re all still sifting through the implications in the states where the freedom has been granted, and there are plenty of analyses that suggest or conclude the measures are big business initiatives that have produced problems of one sort or another.