Activists on both sides pushing hard as marijuana legalization bill looms in Illinois
When a new study reported that legal marijuana could have dire circumstances for the Midwest, it marked the latest in an onslaught of public relations attempts to affect the outcome of the legalization debate in Illinois.
On one side, the cannabis industry, investors, social justice advocates, and mostly Democratic lawmakers are calling for an end to what they consider a destructive war against a relatively harmless and sometimes beneficial drug.
On the other side, law enforcement, addiction counselors, preachers, and most Republican lawmakers warn about the dangers of legalizing another mind-altering addictive substance.
While each side has passionate true believers, their efforts are also driven in part by national nonprofit groups funded by often-undisclosed donors. Their target audience is both the general public, two-thirds of whom in Illinois support legalization, polls show, and undecided state lawmakers, who plan to consider legalizing weed for recreational use this spring.
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