Illinois Partners is a coalition of autonomous voices whose mission is to educate, network, collaborate, convene, strengthen, and mobilize organizations from different sectors across Illinois to counteract misinformation about marijuana and legalized marijuana.

The Partners give a united voice to all who would speak out to protect the children and families of Illinois. Its members include: Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Family Institute, Chicago HIDTA, other law enforcement groups, Illinois Churches in Action, Student Resource Officers, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Park District of Franklin Park, Prevention First, businesses, educators, drug prevention groups, public health groups, community coalitions, drug treatment groups, physicians, and public policy groups.

For more information you may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Educating Voices (630) 420-9493.

Illinois Partners is always looking for new Partners who are interested in following marijuana policy and want current fact-checked information. Illinois Partners meets once a month.

Surrendering All Illinois Kids to the Unintended Consequences of

“Recreational Weed”

Illinois lawmakers are considering passing “recreational marijuana.” This will mean surrendering ALL CHILDREN to the unintended consequences of marijuana by: exposing kids to the commercialization of marijuana, enticing use with marijuana edibles, not recognizing and disregarding all of the dangers associated with marijuana use, suffering the pain of a child’s drug use, and placing a child in unsafe surroundings. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic which came about due to a poor decision on the part of leaders who didn’t understand addiction. Now we are about to see the uncontrolled availability of another addicting drug.

Marijuana has already been decriminalized. Those caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana, enough to make 25 joints, are charged a $100 to $200 fine and have NO JAIL TIME. In addition, citations are automatically expunged twice a year from their records.

  • “Recreational Weed” could legally flood neighborhoods making it easy for kids to get. Anyone 21 or over can possess 28 grams of marijuana, enough to make 70 joints. In addition, they can grow 5 plants with the potential of making 11,200 joints. Marijuana is more potent today. In 1988 the THC, psychoactive ingredient, level was 4% and today is 30%.
  • Youth marijuana use ranks highest in recreational marijuana states; the 8 states are in the country’s top 16 for youth use.
  • With “Recreational Weed” comes aggressive “Commercialization.” Businesses exploit kids looking for new users. In a minority area of one Denver town, there is one marijuana shop for every 47 residents. Oregon has a problem with merchants selling marijuana to kids.
  • Weed is marketed to kids through camouflaged edibles: brownies, cookies, gummy candies, and cereal. One Gummy Bear contains 40 to 200mg of THC. A recommended THC dose is 10mg. Who would eat 1/4th to 1/20th of a Gummy Bear?
  • Camouflaged Weed, or edibles, is appearing in schools and making schools a playground for getting “high.” Edibles are easily concealed.
  • Marijuana is addictive. One in six who start in their teens will become addicted.
  • Marijuana impairs learning, motor coordination, perception, judgment, thinking and memory. Adolescents’ brains are not fully developed until their mid-twenties.
  • In Illinois, teenagers can drive at 16 years, traffic fatalities from drivers using marijuana in Colorado have more than doubled since legalization.

Unintended Consequences of “Recreational Weed” in Illinois?
SB0316 and HB2353

Unintended Consequences:

  • “Recreational Weed” could legally flood neighborhoods making it easy for kids to get. —
    Anyone 21 or over can possess 28 grams of marijuana, enough to make 70 joints.1 In addition, they can grow 5 plants with the potential of making 11,200 joints.2 There are no limits on the amount of marijuana that can be produced and stored.
  • Youth marijuana use ranks highest in the recreational marijuana states; the 8 recreational marijuana states are in the top 16.3
  • With “Recreational Weed” comes aggressive “Commercialization.” Businesses will be exploiting kids looking to create new users. “In the minority area of one Denver town, there is one marijuana shop for every 47 residents. You can’t walk in many parts of Denver without marijuana wafting up you and your children’s noses.”4 In Oregon, many state marijuana licensees have been caught selling to kids.5
  • Weed is marketed to kids as camouflaged, harmless, edibles: brownies, cookies, gummy candies, cereal, (Jack’d Up, Frooty Krispie, Cronik Puffs, Lucky Pharmas) and 100 mg Oral Jelly. “One Gummy Bear contains 40 to 200mg of THC, the psychoactive ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol.” A recommended THC dose is 10mg. “Have you ever eaten 1/20th of a Gummy Bear?”4
  • Marijuana edibles have a time delay onset. The onset of action for smoking marijuana is 10-15 seconds, and the onset of action is 30-60 minutes when eating marijuana. Smoking gives the user an immediate sense of what they are taking and how it is affecting them. With the slow onset of action, oral users are prone to repeat or increase the dose and risk taking too much and accumulating dangerous amounts of THC in the body.
  • Camouflaged Weed, edibles, is appearing in schools and making schools a playground for getting “high.” Students are bringing brownies and candies to school infused with THC to give/sell to other students. Illinois Student Resource Officers are reporting students being “high” in school.
  • Recreational Weed seems to be about exploiting financial gain. The date of the original Illinois Cannabis Control Act was August 16, 1971, and from that date through 2012, 41 years, the General Assembly recognized the harm associated with marijuana.
    The General Assembly recognizes that (1) the current state of scientific and medical knowledge concerning the effects of cannabis makes it necessary to acknowledge the physical, psychological and sociological damage which is incumbent upon its use; and (2) the use of cannabis occupies the unusual position of being widely used and pervasive among the citizens of Illinois despite its harmful effects; and (3) previous legislation enacted to control or forbid the use of cannabis has often unnecessarily and unrealistically drawn a large segment of our population within the criminal justice system without succeeding in deterring the expansion of cannabis use. It is, therefore, the intent of the General Assembly, in the interest of the health and welfare of the citizens of Illinois, to establish a reasonable penalty system which is responsive to the current state of knowledge concerning cannabis and which directs the greatest efforts of law enforcement agencies toward the commercial traffickers and large-scale purveyors of cannabis. To this end, this Act provides wide latitude in the sentencing discretion of the courts and establishes penalties in a sharply rising progression based on the amount of substances containing cannabis involved in each case.
  • Who is watching out for Illinois kids?

1 One joint weighs 0.4 grams or 0.014 ounces according to Economics of Cannabis Legalization, Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., Coordinator California NORML, reprinted Ed Rosenthal, ed., Hemp Today, pp. 311-24 (Quick American Archives, Oakland, CA 1994)
2 Indoor grow operation – The plants grown indoors are generally smaller than those grown outdoors and yield less marijuana per plant. Conservatively, one can assume ½ pound (224 grams) of marijuana per plant grown indoors and harvested 4 times a year. Plants grown indoors produce a higher potency THC. Source: University of Mississippi study, June 1992


 IL House / Senate Hearing on Legalizing Marijuana — September 6, 2017

Police Chief Terry Lemming, Lockport, IL 

I contacted police chiefs from all of the states that have recreational cannabis laws.

Las Vegas, NV, Director Chuck Calloway, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department:

Nevada began their recreational cannabis law on 1-1-17. The retail sales of recreational cannabis began on July 1st of 2017.  Almost immediately there were robberies and burglaries of retail establishments in Las Vegas. From July 1 to mid-August, there were 13 burglaries and robberies of retail establishments. Retail cannabis sales is a cash business and criminals know this.

In the short time that the retail sales began, Las Vegas has had two high profile fatal vehicle crashes attributed to cannabis.

From July 1st to mid-August of this year Las Vegas Metro responded to 250 calls for service at retail cannabis stores. All of the retail cannabis stores are in lower income areas and none are in affluent areas.

Colorado Springs, CO, Police Chief Pete Carey:

Chief Carey warned that recreational cannabis will bring organized crime groups that will also be involved in other crimes such as identity theft, financial fraud and shop lifting.

Gardena, CA, Police Chief Ed Medrano:

Chief Medrano advised that since the recreational law went into effect, there has been a significant increase in illegal home grows where organized criminal groups rent homes and use every room to grow cannabis. In many cases the alterations to the home ruin it for future occupancy. They have also seen an increase in burglaries and robberies of illegal grow operations where large amounts of cannabis is taken.

Walpole, MA, Police Chief John Carmichael:

Chief Carmichael also said that the presence of organized crime has increased from when Massachusetts had only medical cannabis and his prediction is that Massachusetts will be supplying the east coast with marijuana grown in Massachusetts and illegally diverted to other states until other east coast states have recreational laws.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Peter Newsham:

Chief Newsham said that a common problem is complaints from those living in apartment buildings. Residents complain that smoked cannabis is emanating through the vents of apartments not using cannabis, with children present. Unfortunately, the law allows this and the DC police cannot do anything about it.

Chief Lemming's entire testimony in printer-friendly format


Police Chief James Kruger, Oak Brook, IL, President Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP)

I am here today on behalf of the1,300 members, representing over 900 communities of the Illinois Chiefs to register our deep concern and opposition to the potential of a recreational marijuana law in the state of Illinois.

We are concerned with the overall potential for an increase in crime. There has been much said about the potential for the reduction of crime based upon the belief that police officers will not be concentrating on lower level marijuana possession arrests thus allowing them more time for the investigation of more serious criminal activity, but our Colorado and Washington colleagues have told us that the opposite is true. Make no mistake, the gangs and drug cartels are criminal business enterprises and where there is the loss of one market, they will and have found another.

The second concern is public health. Business owners are concerned with the potential employee injuries and worker’s comp claims leading to losses in productivity and erasing any potential increases in the alleged economic boost that recreational marijuana would bring to local economies. We must recognize that the THC level today is much greater than what it was 10 or 20 years ago and that with the availability of edibles, placing children also at risk.

The most worrisome concern is traffic safety. The truth is fatal traffic crashes are on the rise in Colorado and unfortunately they are also on the rise in Illinois without recreational marijuana. A recent article from the Denver Post cited that between 2013 and 2015, while the presence of alcohol in fatal crashes grew 17%, those testing positive for marijuana jumped 145%.

Another startling fact in the article is that a lab in Colorado that tests for marijuana found 80% of results were for active THC indicating use within hours of when the sample was taken, removing the argument of THC staying in the blood stream for a week to mislead the real risk to the motoring public.

Chief Kruger's entire testimony in printer-friendly format

Illinois Legislators Propose Legalizing Marijuana – HB2353 & SB316


Need to Know the Impact on Young People, Traffic Safety, Workplace,

Crime, Economy and ER Visits and Hospital Admissions


Impact on Young People

  • Colorado youth lead the nation in marijuana use — number of 12 to 17-year-olds in last year use, last month use and first time use. The national average for last month use is 7.20 percent while Colorado’s average is 11.13 percent. 1
  • Youth use in Colorado is disproportionally higher in counties where pot shops are prevalent.2
  • After alcohol, marijuana has the highest rate of dependence or abuse among all drugs.3
  • Most people using drugs began when they were teens, and more than half of new illicit drug users started with marijuana.4
  • Drug use is highest among people in their late teens and twenties.5


Impact on Other Drug Use

  • People addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.6
  • Marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana use dampens the brain’s response to reward over time and may actually open marijuana users up to more risk of becoming addicted to that drug or others.7
  • People susceptible to taking drugs are more likely to begin with readily accessible drugs, such as marijuana. Sharing the drug using experience with others increases chances of trying different drugs.8


Impact on Traffic Safety

  • Marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased 62 percent from 71 to 115 persons after recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013.9
  • In Spring Valley, Washington State, from 2012 to 2014 marijuana related DUIs increased 400 percent. Marijuana–only DUIs increased 460 percent.10
  • By 2014, Spokane Valley youth marijuana DUIs increased 1700 percent in three years. In 2014, youth accounted for 64 percent of all confirmed marijuana DUI cases in Spokane Valley.11
  • One in five 10th grade students reported riding with a driver who had used marijuana — 9 percent reported driving within three hours of consumption.12


Impact on the Workplace

  • Employees who test positive for marijuana have 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries, and 75 percent higher absenteeism rates than those who test negative on pre-employment tests.13
  • The owner of Little Spider Creations moved the business because, “pot was hurting his company.” His employees started to come to work stoned after the state legalized marijuana.14


Impact on Crime

  • Legalization “has done nothing more than enhance the opportunity for the black market” according to Lt. Mark Comte of the Colorado Springs Vice and Narcotics Unit.15
  • The legalization of pot in Colorado appears to have opened the door for Mexican cartel operations in the heart of the United States. According to the Colorado’s Attorney General’s office, legalization “has inadvertently helped fuel the business of Mexican drug cartels…cartels are now trading drugs like heroin for marijuana, and the trade has since opened the door to drug and human trafficking.16
  • The DEA warned that drug trafficking organizations have sophisticated grow operations going in residential areas. Colorado Springs Mayor said, “Mexican cartels are no longer sending marijuana into Colorado, they’re now growing it in Colorado and sending it back to Mexico and every place else.”17


Impact on the Economy

  • As of January 2016, there were 424 retail marijuana stores in the state of Colorado compared to 322 Starbucks and 202 McDonald’s.18
  • 68 percent of local jurisdictions have banned medical and recreational marijuana business.19
  • Colorado annual tax revenue from the sale of recreational and medical marijuana was $115,578,432 (CY2015) or about 0.5 percent of Colorado’s total statewide budget (FY2016).20
  • Denver is losing visitors and valuable convention business as a result of these overall safety (or perception of safety) issues…” Visit Denver Report21


Impact on Emergency Department Visits and Hospital Admissions

  • Colorado Emergency Department visits per year related to marijuana:
    • 2013 – 14,148
    • 2014 – 18,25522 
  • Number of hospitalizations related to marijuana:
    • 2011 – 6,305
    • 2012 – 6,715
    • 2013 – 8,272
    • 2014 – 11,43923


1 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper,

2 Supplement to: “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 4. September 2016, March 2017

3 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, About the Survey, June 2015

4 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, About the Survey, June 2015

5 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, About the Survey, June 2015

6 Robert L. DuPont, Marijuana Has Proven to Be a Gateway Drug, New York Times, April 26, 2016

7 Meghan E. Martz, Association of Marijuana Use With Blunted Nucleus Accumbens Response to Reward Anticipation, University of Michigan Health System, JAMA Psychiatry, 2016

8 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Is marijuana a gateway drug?, January 2017

9 The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado Impact, Volume 4, September 2016, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area,

10 Washington State Marijuana Impact Report, March 2016, Impaired Driving, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

11 Washington State Marijuana Impact Report, March 2016, Impaired Driving, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

12 Washington State Marijuana Impact Report, March 2016, Impaired Driving, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

13 Tom Pool, Thinking about dropping marijuana from your drug test?, Drug Free Business

14 Colorado businessman blames ‘stoned’ workers for move to SC, Fox, April 24, 2015

15 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper,

16 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper,

17 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper,

18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado Impact, Volume 4, September 2016, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area,

Printer friendly version of complete document