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Law enforcement authorities raise safety concerns about marijuana legalization proposal

Posted by on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 @ 5:39 pm.

We've received for publication from an area sheriff a statement about the pending decriminalization of recreational cannabis in the state of Illinois, which is one of the only good things new governor JB Prtizker is doing since he's taken office.

Problem is, local law enforcement isn't behind the move, and they have a lot of reasons they feel are valid as to why.

We don't know how many "stoners" present or former that there are among law enforcement, but apparently they're seeing only one side of it - the bad side. And there's plenty of bad to be seen when there are punks like Xzavier Gibbs and his assorted sibs with their assorted last names who have been the alleged drug-runners for the big boys in Saline, creating havoc and ultimately allegedly killing people (or trying to) because they are the ones who have to squeeze the money out of their own small-time distributors.

But that's not what we're talking about here.

Because if pot were decriminalized (and let's make it clear right now: Cannabis isn't going to be "legalized"; it's going to be decriminalized because it was "criminalized" many years ago when the big chemical barons found they could make more money building things out of anything but hemp, so they pressured legislators to make use and possession of cannabis a criminal infraction. They didn't "make it illegal" because the thing is a PLANT and you can't make a naturally-growing thing like a PLANT "illegal"; you can only criminalize possession of it), that would put a lot of penny ante drug thugs like Xzavier out of a job. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But the assertions in this presser are subjective, at the very least, and having had a number of staffers who use medical cannabis for very legitimate health problems, I can tell you: This is not a "drug," not in the standard way society views it. And I can tell you further - No medical cannabis patient would risk their access to their medication by doing something stupid like toking and driving, toking and going to for target practice; toking and doing much of anything that would require concentration. Yet plenty of people we all know pop that Xanax for their anxiety before they get behind the wheel; or get a shot of Benedryl for that ragweed before heading off to work and a 30-minute commute in a big SUV; or down a couple of drinks before going of to their kids' spring concert (because some people can do that; they don't reach that blood alcohol content of .08 percent on a couple of drinks...usually). The folks in this latter group don't "value" their ability to obtain relief from those substances like folks with medical conditions that cannabis treats do. So the likelihood that cannabis users, legal or unlawful, would engage in these activities to the extent that you'd notice it is very very slim...but that's the argument, and here it is.

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Local law enforcement officials are deeply concerned with the recently unveiled Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (SB 7), citing proven risks to public safety and mistakes made in other states. As local officials tasked with keeping communities and streets safe, the Illinois Sheriff's Association expresses concern with the legislation.

"This proposal is a public safety risk that jeopardizes the security of your neighborhoods and safety of our roadways," said Jim Kaitschuk, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriff's Association. "Law enforcement has been clear, Illinois must not repeat the mistakes of other states that have jeopardized public safety, increased traffic fatalities and encouraged criminal anad cartel activities to move into neighborhoods."

The Illinois Sheriffs' Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana use given the immense safety and health risks. If legalization is to proceed, the Association believes the following elements of SB 7 must be addressed:

  • Studies have indicated that fatal cannabis-related traffic accidents increase as much as 31 to 174 percent in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, and the measure has insufficient deterrence to prevent impaired driving - risking the safety of Illinois' roads.
  • "Home Grow" is a loophole that invites foregn cartels, drug traffickers and organized crime to move into neighborhoods and has proven to be a disaster in other states. Home grow makes law enforcement activities more difficult by undermining the system of legal, commercial cannabis.
  • Mass expungement of records will give a free pass to felons who were convicted of distributing and manufacturing large quantities of illegal drugs. The 180-day deadline will burden the legal system and law enforcement. Felony convictions prohibit eligibility for a FOID card, and mass expungement will allow previously prohibited convicted felons to obtain firearms.
  • Legalization legislation will significantly increase burdens on law enforcement and the allocation of tax revenue to statewide and local law enforcement through a grant process set at 8 percent is insufficient.

"We have been providing data and factual information aobut the serious risks involved with legalizing recreational marijuana, but most of the major objections we raised have been ignored. The bill contains many loopholes that will allow recreational marijuana to go largely unregulated, and this will be harmful to our local communities and cause additional danger on the roads and highways. Enforcement will prove to be difficult and next to impossible in some cases. This process needs to slow down so that we can truly learn from mistakes made in other states," said Chief Steven Stelter of Westchester, President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Law enforcement officials are concerned the legislation does not have sufficient protections and deterrence to discourage impaired driving under the influence of cannabis. Numerous commissions and studies have found an indisputable link between an increase in collisions and traffic accidents, including a significant increase of fatal traffic accidents in states with recreational marijuana.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Transport and Health determined that states that decriminalized or legalized marijuana had a dramatic increase in cannabis-related fatal crashes of 31 to 174 percent.

In numerous states that have legalized home grow of marijuana, foreign cartels and organized crime have rushed into the state, resulting in a proliferation of grow houses and associated crime. These neighborhood drug cultivation centers masquerade in residential neighborhoods under the auspices of home grow but are in fact valuable components of narco-traffickers.

"Home grow has proven to be an invitation to cartels and drug traffickers to move into our neighborhoods and it has no place in any legalization effort. Inviting and encouraging the development of an unregulated, untaxed and unsafe drug cultivation industry in our neighborhoods is ridiculous and a threat to public safety," said Knox County Sheriff David Clague, President of the Illinois Sheriffs' Association. "Equally problematic is that home grow makes it impossible for law enforcement to distinguish between legal and illegal products, frustrating and complicating the job of keeping our communities safe."

Under the framework, despite the new burdens and responsibilities, law enforcement receives less funding from the taxation of recreational marijuana than past-due state vendors and funding is distributed through a grant process, raising questions about how all local agencies will benefit. The amount of funding for state and local law enforcement must be increased to meet the increased safety burdens.

The Illinois Sheriff's Association is continuing its Just Facts public awareness campaign to ensure that families know all of the facts and risks associated with the legalization of marijuana.

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Let's review - and dissent, while we're at it.

1 - People are going to use substances and drive. This is inherent in a society where there's very little stigma on people who abuse substances because they're being told they have "a disease" (addiction) when in reality they can't deal with...well, reality. And they lack self-control - which isn't a disease, it's a behavioral issue - so they abuse. But substances come in many forms: At the liquor store, over the counter, or prescription meds. People drive on these daily. People who use weed generally don't toke and use. They know better.

2 - The "Home Grow loophole" featured here is a non-starter. Why? Because the "cartels" are already in your neighborhood. Use the search field on this page and type in "Xzavier Gibbs" or "Ian Hamilton." And if that's not enough for you, let's get really, really real for a minute: There are certain types of restaurants, popping up in pretty much every Illinois town and burg, that we were told point-blank by a drug task force guy years ago this: "If you see a restaurant like that in your town, please be aware that they are nothing but a front for moving massive quantities of drugs from another country." We're not going on the record here as what TYPE of restaurant he was talking about, nor what COUNTRY the flow of drugs was coming from. But we'll hint here: This was flat smack dab in the middle of the Obama administration, and it was a widely-known DTF thing. They keep their eye on this kind of place, and you should, too. Because the "cartels" are already here if you have one in your town.

3 - Mass expungement of records of people who were ONLY convicted of a weed crime NEEDS to happen. If there was no violence; no weapons involved; no one was harmed one way or the other, then by God those people need to be let out of prison with an apology. And in a statement that might startle a number of our regular readers, might I add that everyone here on staff at Disclosure believes that Raymond Martin needs to be among that number, despite the fact that his conviction was federal. Put that in your ditty bag and sing it (or in your one-hitter and smoke it, if you prefer.)

4 - Decriminalization of weed doesn't have to place a burden on law enforcement. They'll no longer be chasing after every pot head trying to find their supplier. Now they can chase the people who actually mess with drugs, substances that kill (like meth...heroin...oxy...) Now they can chase people who harm children. Now they can chase people who regularly break into peoples' homes and avail themselves of someone else's belongings. In short, they can go after CRIMINALS...and leave the pot heads alone, because all pot heads want to do is to be able to smoke in peace. Also, I'm told, not be called pot heads, but since I don't indulge, I can say that.

5 - There are other uses for the full plant besides smoking, which is why the limit of five plants is ridiculous. Some people understand the health benefits of the total plant and use it to make smoothies, a recipe you can find here. What's in the leaves before the THC rises to a level that can get a person stoned is something that shows that God knew what he was doing when he created this plant: It can cure a number of things that ail you. But you can't try it because you can't grow enough weed to amass whole plants for creating smoothies.

Sure there will be a small level of problems to be considered. There will be some novices who think they drive better when they're "a little high." But by and large, this is going to put a distinct crimp in the weed-movers out there, likely forcing them into something like cocaine or heroin so they can make ends meet; and since the cops won't be chasing the pot heads, they can focus on that. Sure there will be people with (*gasp*) felony convictions who'll be able to own a weapon. So? An armed society is a polite society, and expungement is expungement; that's what it's for, expunging. There are people who've had other convictions expunged, people with violence on their record, who have their guns back. Why not weed traffickers? Insert reference to Raymond Martin here.

The fact is, you can find whatever statistics you like. This particular pre-prepped announcement above was made available for county sheriffs and city police chiefs to sign off on and hand out. Do they all feel this way? We don't know. But there are too many factors to take into consideration when looking at the decriminalization issue to make blanket statements like this. Which is why I said earlier that the law enforcement professionals are approaching it from one side only. Try living with the side where a person's medical condition creates pain all the time, preventing that person from sleeping, eating, enjoying every day activities....unless they can find a medication that doesn't make them puke or have other gastrointestinal problems; doesn't carry side effects like "might cause suicidal thoughts" or risk of death from some bizarre situation years after stopping the meds; allows a person a full night's sleep without a trace of a hangover or grogginess in the morning; and in the case of some cancers, has been absolutely proven to shrink tumors and help clean out the blood and bone.

Cannabis does that. And I know personally someone who has been through all of that...and cannabis is the answer, despite the medical marijuana being so unbelievably expensive. So decriminalize we must. Go to it, JB. Git er done.


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Posted by on May 8 2019. Filed under Breaking, Illinois. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Comments for “Law enforcement authorities raise safety concerns about marijuana legalization proposal”

  1. Noah Martin

    Nice article Jack. They always come with these scare tactics. The craziest being the inflated auto accident numbers from recreational cannabis states. The significant rise is in the numbers of users and tourists that enter the states. I was in Colorado when they went recreational. What they were not prepared for was the traffic it created. The traffic quadrupled almost overnight. Plus they need to show real numbers. If cannabis related auto fatalities are up 100 percent from the previous year, how many actual deaths? If two died the year before, then all is needed to reach a one hundred percent increase is four deaths. The cartels are not in the picture either. The biggest player in Illinois is Cresco Labs. They sent all of their profits to Canada to be traded on the Canadian stock exchange. Their entire board is heavily invested in Canadian cannabis stock. The CEO teaches at the law school at Northwestern named after J B. Who pumped millions into it. Curaleaf, the leading cannabis company on the East Coast is backed by a Russian investment bank and either Modello or Coors. Canapy is a Canadian company that has been buying up American licenses by the billions . It’s not the cartels setting up shop, it’s big money. Most of the old school cannabis boys have moved to hemp, which is more profitable. There’s a Colorado company looking for Illinois farmers to grow hemp. They offer free shipping, tech support and 20 thousand dollars an acre. Times are changing Jack.

    • Holy crap. I know someone who won’t be buying Cresco again. Gads.

      As to the rest of it, excellent points in your comment. For one thing…I despise statistics, because they can be manipulated, just like you pointed out. And further, I’m with you; it’s time for people to wake up to the realities of these natural “drugs” and what they really do. If everybody could grow their own weed unhindered, our society would be so much better off. The “War on Drugs” has been a complete disaster and a gigantic waste of money. It needs to stop.

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