Both the gambling and marijuana bills were steamrolled through the Legislature in the final days of the session.
Legislators were so eager to get construction projects in their district that they voted on the 816-page gambling bill and the 610-page marijuana bill without reading them or knowing all that was included. Legislative leaders did not even know everything that was in the bills and say they will need to make changes in the fall veto session.
Young people do not go to casinos or gamble on slot/video gambling machines, however, they do like sports, cellphone apps and mobile devices. Gambling changes the brain. Enticing teens and young adults to gamble on sports will cause harm and impact their futures. This is a terrible way to raise revenue.
More people will use and abuse marijuana once it is legal in Illinois. In other states where marijuana is legalized, traffic crashes, homelessness, hospitalizations, and black market sales have increased.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the massive expansion of gambling and legalization of marijuana will help repair a broken Illinois. “I really believe that we have turned this ship in the right direction. Illinois is back,” Pritzker said.
I believe Illinois is going in the wrong direction with the passage of these bills. Increases in crime, substance abuse, child neglect, traffic fatalities, and suicide are some of the resulting social costs that will impact families and communities statewide. Construction projects will come at a high cost.
Note to readers: Anita Bedell is executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems.