Are you having a hard time breathing through the giant cloud of pot smoke now hanging over Illinois thanks to the new legalization law?
No? I didn’t think so. Notice anything at all, really? Probably not.
Here’s the truth about marijuana – people who want to smoke it and who do smoke it were pretty much already smoking it in 2019. And in 2018, and so on. Making it legal didn’t suddenly turn the entire state into a bunch of tie-dye loving, Twinkie eating, Grateful Dead listening pot heads.
Not that you would think anything short of the overrun of our fine state by a bunch of hippies aiming to ruin everything would happen if you paid attention to some people. I had to chuckle when people worried about the demise of mature society when the sticky icky became legal.
People have been smoking pot for a long, long time. And those people certainly include plenty of people you might not want to invite to the church social. But they also include lawyers, doctors, mechanics, businesses owners – you name it.
I am not one of those who partakes, and I haven’t in so long I can’t remember the last time I did. Not that I never have. I mean, I grew up on the border of California and Mexico and started high school in 1977, so pot was readily available. Everyone from the class president to the homecoming queen smoked pot on occasion. And those people grew up to be responsible adults.
I know that I have smoked it once or twice since getting out of the military decades ago, but honestly, marijuana never really sat right with me. Made me paranoid or sleepy. But I know plenty of people – people who might surprise you – who do partake and they lead perfectly wonderful lives.
Of course, most of those people don’t smoke anything. You can get pot edibles in almost any form – from cookies to gummies – and you can ingest it from vaping or in a liquid. I have never tried any of these and probably won’t now that you can go to a local store and buy it.
I know that municipalities all over the state have struggled with how to handle this new law, and I understand that struggle. It has been legal in a number of states for some time, and there are still problems. One of the biggest is that it is still against federal law. Also, banking for pot businesses is sketchy at best.
Ogle County elected to not have pot sales or growth in unincorporated areas of the county for now. And maybe that is a smart move – wait until laws and regulations are more settled. Other county cities have voted to approve sale. Rockford has as well.
Yes, that will mean new taxes, and I will also bet long lines at the area locations selling the now-legal substance.
Love it or hate it, it will be popular – always has been.
Will it bring more problems, like impaired driving? Maybe, but I am not certain of that. It will be a headache at the beginning for law enforcement, but like any new law that will even out. Honestly, most people I know who smoke or use edibles with THC in them are not the types to cause problems.
Basically, get ready to see … not much change. Sure, you might see more people smiling and eating Cheetos, but I don’t expect we will see roaming hordes of potheads trying to give us all hugs.
Brad jennings is Editor of The Ogle County Life.