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State

Illinois lawmakers ponder proposal to legalize marijuana

FILE - This April 15, 2017 file photo shows marijuana plants for sale at the ShowGrow dispensary a medical marijuana provider in downtown Los Angeles. This year is poised to be a big one for legalized marijuana, with California and other states that recently approved recreational pot coming online. Yet uncertainty over the Trump administration's intents toward pot enforcement has created at least partial paralysis in those states on public consumption, licensing and other issues. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel,File)
FILE - This April 15, 2017 file photo shows marijuana plants for sale at the ShowGrow dispensary a medical marijuana provider in downtown Los Angeles. This year is poised to be a big one for legalized marijuana, with California and other states that recently approved recreational pot coming online. Yet uncertainty over the Trump administration's intents toward pot enforcement has created at least partial paralysis in those states on public consumption, licensing and other issues. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel,File)

CHICAGO – The head of Colorado’s Department of Revenue has spoken to Illinois legislators considering a proposal to legalize marijuana in the state.

The department’s executive director, Barbara Brohl, told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday that she believes the legal market for marijuana is eating into the black market, funding drug abuse treatment and prevention, and providing a safer product, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Proposed legislation in Illinois would allow possession of up to an ounce of pot by people who are at least 21 years old. Smoking in public would be prohibited, and driving under the influence would remain illegal.

Sponsors of the plan said the measure won’t get a vote this legislative season, but they’re beginning a series of hearings on how to craft a potential law.

“Prohibition doesn’t work,” said Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat.

Steans said taxing and regulating pot would create jobs and generate an estimated $350 million to $700 million a year in tax revenues for debt-ridden Illinois.

Brohl said that in Colorado, the roughly $200 million in tax revenue from more than $1 billion in sales last year also provides $40 million for schools.

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