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Letters to the Editor

Marijuana law allows on-site consumption

The state’s new marijuana law includes an exemption to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act ban on indoor smoking, and lets cities decide whether to allow on-site marijuana use at bars, restaurants, and cannabis smoking lounges, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

Rep. Kelly Cassidy and her colleagues decided that social consumption of marijuana would be allowed, but not licensed by the state, leaving that up to local officials, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Public health and safety are concerns with on-site consumption.

Legislators thought video gambling would be limited to bars, restaurants, and veterans organizations. However, video gambling machines are everywhere, except in the 125 municipalities and counties where they are banned.

We could see a similar situation with marijuana unless local officials pass an ordinance to ban recreational marijuana dispensaries, processing, transporting, cultivation facilities, and on-site consumption of marijuana in municipalities and counties.

Living near marijuana dispensaries makes youth more likely to use marijuana, according to a study by the Rand Corporation. Youth who use marijuana are more likely to experience negative consequences, such as increased risk of mental and physical health problems, according to the researchers.

Contact your mayor, city council, and county board to ask for a ban on recreational marijuana businesses and on-site consumption. Act now to protect your family and community before it is too late.

Note to readers: Anita Bedell is executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems.

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