Need for Weed

Illinois legalizes recreational marijuana


Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune

On the second day of legal recreational cannabis sales, a line of people wait outside the Midway Dispensary store, 5648 S. Archer Ave., in Chicago, on Jan. 2, 2020.

In case you weren’t already aware, Missouri’s neighbor to the northeast, Illinois, has legalized recreational marijuana.

Illinois Residents are allowed 30 grams of flower, 500 milligrams of edibles, and 5 grams of concentrate, non-illinois residents are allowed to purchase 15 grams of flour, 250 milligrams of edibles and 2.5 grams of concentrate.

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Illinois since Jan. 1, and already $40 million worth of marijuana products have been sold in the state. In fact, on Jan. 1 $3.2 million dollars worth of marijuana was sold.

The closest dispensary for St. Louis residents is in Collinsville. That Dispensary sold so much product on one day, the shop had to close for a day because if was out of marijuana.

Though Collinsville’s dispensary isn’t the only place doing huge business. Dispensaries across Illinois have been packed, some including, Harrisburg, North Aurora, and Spiringsville just to name a few. Lines even to this day are still pretty full.     

A few questions do get posed on why Illinois would legalize marijuana in the first place? According to School Resource Lindsay Weiss, “I think because so many people do it they don’t want to get in trouble for it.” 

Weiss said she thinks the state of Illinois and the people using marijuana recreationally are making a mistake. 

“Either way it is a mind altering drug. When you’re using you’re not thinking clearly,” she said.

Sophomore Kole Roberts agrees. 

“If it’s not needed and people are just getting high off it and people are abusing it for feeling good it’s not healthy,” he said.  

Another sophomore, Joey Schaefer, said he thought the same thing but, according to him, that’s why it’s fine since other substances can make you do the same thing but they are legal.

“It’s just as bad as drinking,” he said.

The Illinois state line is only 25 miles away from South High. Because of this, Weiss thinks legal marijuana in Illinois will have effects on Missouri. 

“With us [meaning Missouri] being so close it would probably make us more likely to change our laws…I think it’s a very good possibility,” Officer Weiss said.

In fact, it might already be happening since a campaign was launched recently on recreational marijuana legalization in Missouri, trying to get the question on the state’s November ballot.

Now the question rises what would happen if marijuana was legalized in Missouri?

Though Missouri legalizing marijuana definitely would take longer because Missouri has one of the toughest laws about marijuana use in the nation. Getting marijuana legalized medicinally didn’t happen until 2018 and petitions for recreational use haven’t changed the legislature’s mind.      

“I do believe it will help the economy in Missouri; it’s just another thing to sell,” Schaefer said. 

Illinois and other states have made a load of tax money by selling recreational pot, which has helped their economy.

However, this doesn’t change Roberts’ mind.

“It would be detrimental to the people. It’s a lot of unneeded work like we don’t need weed to be selling for our economy to be good,” he said.

Roberts said he thinks legalizing marijuana hurts younger people. 

“It would be easier to access. People would take advantage of it, younger people I mean,” Roberts said.  

The minimum age to buy marijuana in Illinois is 21. However, Schaefer thinks the age should be lowered to 18. 

“18 because you are an adult, and if you’re allowed to join the military, and kill people you should be allowed to smoke,” he said. 

Roberts said he thinks more people would use marijuana in Missouri if it was legal here.

“There would be people who use weed because it’s legal. More people would use it because it’s there,” he said.