Illinois Partners’ purpose is to educate, network, collaborate, convene, strengthen, and mobilize organizations from different sectors across Illinois to counteract misinformation about marijuana, medical marijuana and legalized marijuana. The Partners give a united voice to all who would speak out to protect the children and families of Illinois.

Illinois Partners include: Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Prevention First, Chicago HIDTA, Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Churches in Action, other law enforcement groups, educators, drug prevention groups, drug treatment groups, physicians and public policy groups. EVI works with these groups to develop and co-sponsor educational programs on marijuana to be presented to the public.

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.

Illinois Partners sits under the umbrella of Educating Voices, Inc. You may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 


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, http://coloradopolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hickenlooper-letter-MTP-final-3-10-17.pdf

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, http://www.rmhidta.org/html/2016%20FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20Marijuana%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.pdf

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 News.com, April 24, 2015

15 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper, http://coloradopolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hickenlooper-letter-MTP-final-3-10-17.pdf

16 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper, http://coloradopolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hickenlooper-letter-MTP-final-3-10-17.pdf

17 Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper, http://coloradopolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hickenlooper-letter-MTP-final-3-10-17.pdf

18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado Impact, Volume 4, September 2016, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, http://www.rmhidta.org/html/2016%20FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20Marijuana%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.pdf

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 HB3235 Puts More Drugs on Illinois Streets by Raising the Amounts of Drugs

Constituting an Offense

While Decreasing Penalties for Drug Offenses

 

When access to drugs is increased (via lowered price, decriminalization, positive social norms), use and dependency also increase, leading to a number of personal and societal problems. Public policy should protect the health, safety and well-being of citizens and not contribute to these issues. 

 

Understandably, in decreasing sentencing for the drug offenses, this bill aims to alleviate concerns related to over-incarceration.  According to law enforcement sources, however, virtually no one is in prison for straight "personal use" drug possession charges and convictions.  People who show a drug possession conviction and are sentenced to prison are:

·        persons who were caught selling or trafficking drugs and were offered a deal to plead guilty to the lesser offense of "possession" in exchange for a lighter sentence than if convicted of narcotics distribution,

·        people who were found to be in possession of a large amount of drugs, much more than personal use, and were or could be charged with possession with intent to deliver,

·        and, to a lesser degree, people with multiple prior offenses where a judge deems prison time is warranted.

 

 

Against the backdrop of heroin overdoses devastating communities across the state, the current bill proposes the following amendments.

 

Heroin — Unlawful to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance

- HB3235 reduces the penalties for heroin anywhere from 50% to 77% depending upon the amount of grams involved.

- A kilo costs $60,000 to $70,000. There are 5 doses in just 1 gram. Offenses for different amounts of heroin range from 15 grams to 900 grams or more. 15 to 900 grams is equivalent to 75 to 4,500 bags of heroin prepared for illegal distribution. At $10/bag, distributers can make about a $45,000 profit.

- The penalty for manufacturing, delivering or possessing 900 grams, 4,500 bags of heroin, is reduced from between 15 and 60 years to between 4 and 15 years.

 

Fentanyl also contributes to the overdose trend, as it is much more potent than heroin and is often mixed with the drug due to its powerful effects.

 

Fentanyl — Unlawful, to manufacture or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance

- Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Yet, it carries the same penalties as heroin.

- Offenses for different amounts range from 15 grams to 900 grams or more. These amounts translate to 75 to 4,500 .2-gram bags on the street.

- Fentanyl, sells for $5,000 a kilo and is used as a cutting agent for heroin increasing drug traffickers and dealers’ profit margins.

- A 3-milligram dose of fentanyl is enough to kill an average-sized adult male (there are 1,000 milligrams per gram).

- HB3235 reduces penalties for fentanyl anywhere from 50% to 77% depending upon the amount of grams involved.

 

 

 

 Cannabis — Unlawful to possess cannabis

- Penalties reduced anywhere from 50% to 80% depending upon the amount of grams involved. Under HB3235, possession of up to 30 grams is a civil law violation which carries no penalty other than a fine not to exceed $125.

-  Offenses for different amounts of cannabis range from not more than 30 grams to MORE than 5,000 grams. 30 grams is about a solid sandwich bag full. 500 grams goes for about $900. Cannabis with high levels of THC may go for $2,500 to $3,000 a pound. The THC level can reach over 80%. Cannabis edibles in the form of cookies, brownies, and candies are becoming popular.

 

Oxycodone — Unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance

-HB3235 reduces penalties for oxycodone at least 73%.

- Offenses are for 100 grams. On the street, one pill is 8mg, so 100 grams is the same as 12,500 pills. At $10/pill, someone could make a profit of up to $125,000 at this amount.

 

Methamphetamine — Knowingly participating in the manufacture of methamphetamine with intent to produce methamphetamine

- Offenses for different amounts of Methamphetamine range from 15 grams to MORE than 900 grams. This translates to 1,500-90,000 doses.

- Methamphetamine sells for $60 to $90 a gram, in southern Illinois and 900 grams of Meth would yield $54,000 to $81,000.

- HB3235 reduces penalties anywhere from 25% to 53% depending upon the amount of grams involved.

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HB3715 Emboldens STUDENTS to Bring Cannabis on School Grounds

by Exempting “Enrolled Students” From

Any Penalty

The bill provides penalties for people delivering cannabis on school grounds BUT EXEMPTS “ENROLLED STUDENTS” FROM ANY PENALTY for delivering cannabis in schools, on school buses or school property.

An “enrolled student” is a student registered at a public, private, or charter school or at a public or private college, community college, or university.

Who could possibly want this for their children?

 Marijuana is addictive. Each year, two-thirds of new marijuana users are under the age of 18. One in six of these adolescents will go on to develop marijuana use or dependence.
 Marijuana is much more potent, today. In 1998 the average THC level was 4.4%. Today, the THC content is around 15% but can reach 30% with high-tech growing methods.
Concentrated super strength marijuana is a THC rich product reaching over 80% THC. It can be procured through extraction by using solvents to strip the cannabinoids from the marijuana plant resulting in the THC rich product.
 Marijuana-infused food products contain the concentrated super strength marijuana and can cause marijuana poisoning.
 Neuropsychological decline appears in adolescents after persistent marijuana use. Adolescents’ brains are not fully developed and don’t fully develop until the early to mid-twenties, making them vulnerable to long-term changes in the brain. There is a higher risk of psychosis and schizophrenia symptoms. .
 Marijuana can impair driving and motor coordination, learning, perception, judgment, thinking, and memory. Marijuana use can lead to poor attendance, dropping out of school, delinquency and behavioral problems.

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 HB3715 exempts students, “enrolled students,” from any legal

consequences for delivering cannabis in public, private, or charter

schools or at public or private colleges, community colleges, or

universities, on school buses or school property.

 

MARIJUANA PRIMES THE BRAIN FOR OTHER DRUGS —

People addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be

addicted to heroin. 1

 

  • Marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana is a high-inducing drug that compromises the reward system in the brain by stimulating the pleasure chemical, dopamine which subsequently leads people to need marijuana to feel reward. 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. 2 
  • A Yale study showed that alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana were associated with an increased likelihood of prescription drug abuse in men 18 – 25. In women of that age, only marijuana use was linked with a higher likelihood of prescription drug abuse. 3 
  • 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. 4

 

  • HB3715 is a serious threat to Illinois kids, young people and families!
    • After alcohol, marijuana has the highest rate of dependence or abuse among all drugs. 5
    • Most people using drugs began when they were teens, and more than half of new illicit drug users started with marijuana. 6
    • Drug use is highest among people in their late teens and twenties.7

  

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

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

3 Lynn Fiellin, MED ’96, Yale University School of Medicine, Journal of Adolescent Health, August 20, 2012. www.thecrimereport.org/archive/2012-08-pot-as-gateway-drug  

4 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Is marijuana a gateway drug?, January 2917

5, 6, 7 National Institute of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, About the Survey, June 2015.

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