Before the end of the year, November 6 to be exact, Illinois voters may be asked their opinion on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana for residents 21 years and older. The obvious reason legislators are presenting this option to the public is recreational marijuana is seen as the savior of Illinois budget woes. In other states that have OKd recreational marijuana, taxes from sales have been a boon. At one point, Colorado was hauling in so much revenue, the state was giving residents refunds, No such talk has surfaced here, yet.
What else that hasn’t been discussed to date is the November vote driving more young and African-African voters to the polls. These two demographics stand to benefit the most should the vote this fall morph into successful legislation for recreational weed. A November vote this fall is pretty much a trial balloon. The folks in Springfield want to use it to determine how to proceed with the binding vote legalizing marijuana for recreational use,
Because law enforcement in and around Chicago choose to arrest more African Americans for marijuana offenses, it seems obvious these young men and women would want a new law enacted. One that would allow them to smoke in public in peace. In a recent conversation with a local news outlet, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle recalled that her daughter visited friends at Northwestern University in Evanston, and the folks in that city smoked pot openly with no consequences. It’s just another example of unequal enforcement of the law.
If Black young adults living in Chicago are made to understand that by voting, and voting in large numbers November 6, that they have the opportunity and possibility to reverse the discriminatory trend, there is no reason to stay away from the polls.
However, proponents of legalizing recreational weed, of the Rec Bill, as it is known in those circles, can’t just sit back and hope those most affected by the pending legislation will get out and vote. There has to be a strategic road to get millennials, of all ethnicities to the polls. Just like in a candidate’s campaign, the recreational weed issue should be buoyed with advertising, literature, as well as broadcast commercials. There should be no doubt that opponents will pull out of those stops.
A successful get-the-vote campaign on this issue can literally plant the seed to get young voters to see their power and cause them to want to flex in subsequent elections.