Pros and Cons of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

Pros and Cons of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

There are a number of pros and cons to the process of legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois.

According to Illinois State law, adults over the age of 21 can legally possess, consume, and purchase cannabis in Illinois as of January 1st, 2020.

And while this law, which made recreational consumption and possession of marijuana legal, was overall met with a positive reaction—it’s still true that there are some critics of the entire ‘cannabis legalization’ movement as a whole.

But what are the downsides?

And despite downsides, aren’t there still quite a few upsides to the legalization of recreational cannabis in the prairie state?

As it turns out, there are definitely upsides and downsides to this development.

Let’s discuss them.

Pro #1: Increased Tax Revenue

Illinois has actually enacted the second-highest recreational cannabis tax in the country.

The tax rate in Illinois for recreational cannabis is 31.25%.

The largest portion of these tax proceeds goes to cover the state’s cost of administrating the marijuana program.

However, funds are also used for expunging minor cannabis offenses.

Many people see the increased tax revenue that comes from marijuana sales as a good thing for the state.

Thus, it’s an upside.

Pro #2: Reduced Costs Associated With Criminal Enforcement

Now that marijuana is legal in Illinois, there are fewer costs associated with prosecuting minor cannabis offenses.

This helps to further save taxpayers’ money, and also helps to streamline the legal process to eliminate cases that are now considered mostly non-consequential.

Pro #3: Improved Access for Medical Patients

Another great thing about marijuana legalization is that it improves access for medical patients who could benefit a lot from being able to use cannabis as a treatment for a health problem.

To learn more about how to use medical marijuana in Illinois, including how to get your Illinois medical marijuana card, check out this handy online tool.

Con #1: Potential Negative Health Outcomes

Some people are concerned about the potential negative health outcomes associated with marijuana.

For example, there’s still a pretty potent debate to be had about whether or not marijuana is harmful when smoked in a similar way that cigarettes are harmful when smoked.

Plus, with much of the basic cannabis safety research as of yet remaining to be complete, it’s impossible to say whether or not we will find out that there are actually more health dangers associated with it than we are currently aware of.

This may not end up leading anywhere. But the worst-case scenario is that it could lead to an understanding of greater negative health outcomes than anyone anticipated.

And obviously, that would be a pretty big downside.

Con #2: Increased Rates of Abuse

Obviously, cannabis contains THC—which is a psychoactive cannabinoid that causes a ‘euphoric high’ that marijuana is well known for.

As a general rule, this particular type of high isn’t considered addictive.

However, some people worry that it could be habit forming—and that with it being so readily available through recreational marijuana laws, it could actually lead to marijuana abuse—which could be detrimental to some people’s lives.

Con #3: Complications Associated with Impaired Driving

One of the big problems with marijuana legalization is that it opens the door to more impaired driving issues.

When people get high from smoking or using marijuana, this obviously affects their motor skills and their ability to drive safely.

And with marijuana being so widely available now due to recreational marijuana legalization, this obviously opens the door to more people driving impaired.

This raises some valid safety concerns and is one of the predominant downsides to marijuana legalization.


Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand some of the biggest pros and cons of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois.

Of course, it seems like a lot of people favor marijuana legalization.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some issues and challenges to sort out.

Hopefully, as we move into the future, we’ll figure out how to deal with some of these issues in a positive and constructive manner, so that we can overcome more of the negatives and embrace more of the positives.

That’s pretty much the goal with everything, right?

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