McCarter says there are more important issues than marijuana to ask voters about
Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) said there are far more important things to ask Illinois voters than whether they want to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
SB2275, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), would form the Marijuana Legalization Referendum Act, which according to the bill synopsis “requires the State Board of Elections to cause a statewide advisory public question to be submitted to the voters at the Nov. 6, 2018, general election asking whether individuals support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, subject to regulation and taxation that is similar to the regulation and taxation of tobacco and alcohol.”
McCarter made it clear during a March 1 debate on the Senate floor that questions about legalizing marijuana use are not a priority for the financially strapped Prairie State.
“Should legislators have to abide by term limits, I think it would be an interesting thing to find out from citizens on whether or not they think that would be a good thing,” McCarter said.
However, while Cunningham said he appreciated the concerns that were voiced in the debate and, he too, agrees Illinois is facing major problems, “and arguably there are more important issues than this,” it is secondary to the fact that the question must be asked.
“This is not a small issue, I think this is a pretty important issue,” Cunningham said.
“However, we don’t have in this state which has been kind of unique to this debate is the opportunity for the public to voice their opinion,” Cunningham said. “That’s why I think this is an appropriate advisory ballot question.”
He said out of the nine states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, Vermont is the only one not to pose the question to the public.
“Therefore, I think it is well-advised for us in the General Assembly before we possibly take a vote on this issue, to find out what are voters think,” Cunningham said.
McCarter was not moved.
“I object to this bill, and I will not be voting in favor of it,” McCarter said.
SB2275 passed 37-13 and the question will be on the November ballot.