Friday, May 31, 2019

EXTRA: Cheech & Chong gag obsolete? At least in Illinois!

The Illinois House of Representatives completed the legislative portion of the process by which marijuana use in the Land of Lincoln loses its stigma -- sending off to Gov. J.B. Pritzker the bill that will make it no longer any kind of illegal act for people to light up a joint/doobie/whatever you choose to call it.
Which makes me wonder about the old Cheech & Chong comedy skits involving the Sgt. Stedenko character. The overbearing, and inept, cop was forever trying to bust the comedy team -- and as I recall in one of their films, turned out to be a drug user himself.

BUT HOW WILL future generations view such moments? Will they wonder just why a cop was getting all worked up over someone wanting to indulge themselves in having a smoke for pure pleasure?

For the intent of Illinois' new law, which Pritzker is expected to sign off on some time this summer, will allow for people to purchase their "pot" from officially licensed vendors -- whose sales will be taxed, Meaning Illinois will get its "cut" of the proceeds. Which the cynics say is an immoral, if not ought to be criminal, reason to legalize something.

I don't doubt some people are going to wan to forevermore maintain the stigma of marijuana use -- mainly because they're going to object to the kinds of people they want to believe actually use the substance,

Which is why the most important part of this legislation, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, if Pritzker actually signs it into law, are the measures allowing for people to have their criminal records cleared of any offenses for past usage.

THE MARIJUANA POLICY Project estimates that some 750,000 people in Illinois will be eligible to have their records cleared for any times in the past they were caught by police using. It should be clear that people have to show they didn't commit other illegal acts while using pot -- their convictions will remain in place.

It should be noted that this change in law, when it takes effect, will not legitimize your neighborhood drug dealer. If anything, they're going to remain under police scrutiny. They will be, after all, selling pot products that compete with the officially-licensed vendors the state will want people to purchase from.

It will be something along the lines of the "illegal lottery" rackets that compete with the Illinois State Lottery games and are the remnants of the old policy rackets that allowed people to place nickel bets on numbers in hopes of winning a prize. The police still crack down on those people -- because they want us to buy lottery tickets from gas stations and convenience stores instead.
Which means that the cops are still going to crack down on the scuzzy-looking guy who tries growing his own pot product for sale. "Sgt. Stedenko," however, will become a less onerous law enforcement image -- and something more akin to "Barney Fife."

DeLUCA: Our brains on drugs

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just a bit of evidence as to how some people will always remain opposed to the idea of legitimizing marijuana use. Amongst the legislators who voted "no" are state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, who couldn't bring himself to side with the desires of his political party's governor. DeLuca brought to mind that old public service announcement, reenacting that moment by frying an egg in a pan within the House chambers, then telling us, "This is your brain on drugs."

No comments: