Lawmakers will discuss public safety issues if recreational mari - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lawmakers will discuss public safety issues if recreational marijuana becomes legal

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DU QUOIN -- In two days, state law makers will meet in Springfield to further discuss the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Illinois. They'll address the public safety aspect of legalizing the drug. 

It's no secret Illinois has trouble with its finances. That's why Stephanie Rock believes legalizing marijuana, and taxing it, should be a no-brainer for the state. 

"I think it should be legalized. People are going to do it regardless, so might as well make it legal so we can get our tax money out of it," said Rock. 

But Kathleen McDonald has some concerns, mostly about driving alongside people who might be under the influence of the drug.

She says if she sees her lawmakers, she'll make her opinion known. 

"Say no, I'm not for it. Please don't represent me and vote to legalize it," said McDonald. 

And her concerns may be spot on according to analysis done by the Denver Post.  Although marijuana can't be definitively linked to the number of pot-related traffic fatalities in Colorado, trends show it may have something to do with it.  

The analysis found that in 2013, when the drug became legal, drivers tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes. By 2016, that number doubled to 20 percent.

Eric Johnson says he's also okay with legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but hopes people will be smart enough to stay off the roads. 

"As long as they were doing it at the house and not driving around, I don't see an issue with it," said Johnson. 

Stephanie admits, recent cases of fentanyl-laced weed has her concerned about illegal purchases. Still, she stands behind her support of legalization, saying it would make it safer all around. 

"They are getting ahold of some stuff that's not good for them. So at least this way, there's regulations and stuff it's going to go through, and it's a healthier version of it," said Rock. 

Under the proposed Illinois law,  driving under the influence would remain illegal. Lawmakers in support of the bill, say legalizing and regulating would create jobs and generate hundreds of thousands in tax revenue. 

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