BLOOMINGTON — Recreational marijuana is sweeping the nation, but legalization remains a divisive issue in McLean County.
Eight states and Washington, D.C., now allow adults to use the drug on a recreational basis, and two bills in the state legislature would make Illinois the ninth — but local legislators are split on whether to support the proposal.
“I am willing to support legalization for adult use if it is done correctly, which includes negotiating appropriate safeguards,” said state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, on Facebook. “We can’t sit on the sidelines while others work out the details. Therefore I plan to work with my colleagues to develop a legalization plan that adopts reasonable safeguards and embraces fiscal reforms.”
State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, have proposed legislation in both chambers that would expand the state’s current marijuana program, which has allowed regulated growth and sale for medical use since 2014, to less-regulated growth and recreational use.
“You’re talking to someone who opposed medical marijuana, and I have a lot