Senator Steans on the Senate floorSenator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) seeks to create a new revenue source for the State of Illinois by legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. Senate Bill 316 legalizes the possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana and will allow facilities to sell marijuana products.

“Right now, all the money being spent on marijuana is going into the pockets of criminals and cartels,” Steans said. “In a regulated system, the money would go into the cash registers of licensed, taxpaying businesses. It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new revenue for our state. Prohibition is a financial hole in the ground, and we should stop throwing taxpayer dollars into it.”

Legalizing recreational marijuana has swept the nation. During this past election, voters from coast to coast passed ballot initiatives to legalize its use, making recreational marijuana now legal in eight states and Washington, D.C.

“It is clear that individuals across the nation are receptive to purchasing marijuana through a legal market,” Steans said. “Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois’ worsening budget problems. Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor’s $5 billion budget gap.”

Identical legislation has been introduced in the House by Representative Kelly Cassidy.

In 2016, the state of Oregon collected more than $60 million in new revenue from a tax on marijuana – more than six times what the Oregon Liquor Control Commission expected for the 2015-2017 budget period. In Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012, the state collected more than $140 million in 2016 from taxes on legal marijuana sales.

Though recreational sales in Colorado began in 2014, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, marijuana consumption by teens has not increased since recreational marijuana was legalized.

Increasingly, researchers are finding that marijuana can be an effective alternative to opioids for pain management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids killed more than 33,000 individuals in 2015 alone. In Illinois, 75 percent of drug overdoses in 2015 involved opioids according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“I believe that we should explore all options to ending the opioid epidemic,” Steans said. “I think that by legalizing marijuana, we could see a drop in opioid overuse.”

Marijuana has also been used to treat patients with chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy and some psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Last year, legislation introduced by Senator Steans to decriminalize possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana became law.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in light of the inability of Rauner administration agency heads to identify possible spending cuts during committee hearings:

Senator Steans at a press conference on Rauner administration budget testimonyThe governor presented a budget that is now $5 billion out of balance. When members of the Senate asked his agency directors how they could contribute to filling this gap, none of them were able to identify a single dollar to help balance the budget.

The fact that the governor stifled the Senate’s grand bargain negotiations when his budget relied on the grand bargain to help balance his budget tells me that the governor is more interested in creating chaos than fiscal stability. By continuing to push his partisan priorities, the governor is hurting taxpayers, businesses and families. Every day that we don’t resolve this budget crisis, $11 million is added to the state’s debt and our backlog of bills grows.

Though the governor’s budget proposal is now $5 billion out of balance, I remain determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find compromise and fill the budget gap the governor created.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on today’s voting on the Senate grand bargain:

Today the Illinois Senate began voting on the bipartisan grand bargain, moving one step closer to providing Illinoisans fiscal stability.

The appropriations bill we passed today ensures social service providers can keep their doors open, funds public universities and community colleges to the level they saw in 2015 when we last had a complete budget, and provides MAP grant funding for Illinois residents pursuing a degree within the state.

As a legislative body, we worked together on the grand bargain and compromised on many of the big issues facing our state. I am glad that we were able to push past differing political ideology and come together for real solutions to help struggling businesses, residents and families.

###

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on the governor’s budget address:

Senator Steans on the Senate floorWe do not have time for the governor to put his legislative priorities before resolving the budget impasse. We have already gone 20 months without a state budget and Illinoisans across the state who are in no way to blame for the budget crisis are paying the price.

We must ensure that social service agencies remain open, domestic violence shelters receive the support they need, provide adequate higher education funding so that college students can confidently choose to stay in Illinois and continue to work to mend what has been broken by the impasse.

In order to restore economic stability so that businesses and individuals can thrive in Illinois, we must end this budget impasse and move forward with a balanced budget. It is the governor’s constitutional obligation to present the General Assembly with a balanced budget. If he is not willing to do so, then the Senate will forge ahead with our bipartisan budget negotiations.

###

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492