IMG 6569CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) co-hosted a community discussion Monday with State Representative Carol Ammons on the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Participants heard from a panel of experts, public health officials, lawmakers and law enforcement on the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational use in Illinois.

The panelists touched on the recreational cannabis industry, the medical cannabis industry, the licensing of growers and distributors and the role of public health toward legalized cannabis.

“The legalization of cannabis is a very complicated topic, and it’s important that any legislation we pass in the future includes community input,” Bennett said. “I appreciate everyone who came out and offered us feedback in order to help us make informed decisions in Springfield.”

Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) also discussed her current proposal, which would allow adults 21 and older to buy up to an ounce from licensed dispensaries and grow up to five plants indoors. The bill also allows local governments to restrict or prohibit use.

Under the proposal, revenue from taxes on recreational sales would be earmarked for law enforcement, public education campaigns, substance abuse treatment and other programs to help communities affected by the war on drugs.

“There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but one thing that I will be pushing for is community education about cannabis and its effects,” Bennett said. “We need to be able to educate the public about when it is safe and when it is not safe.”

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