Bill Would Bring Recreational Pot Dispensary to Springfield

State lawmakers estimate Illinois could bring in to $700 million in taxes by legalizing the drug. (WRSP)

A recreational marijuana dispensary could be coming to Springfield if a new Illinois bill passes.

Right now, HCI Alternatives operates as a medical dispensary in Springfield.

Director Chris Stone said the measure in the statehouse would allow facilities like his to sell recreational pot. Stone said one of the major benefits the state would see if the bill passed is financial.

State lawmakers estimate Illinois could bring in to $700 million in taxes by legalizing the drug.

"From what you see in other states that have a recreational program that's at least a couple years old," Stone said. "You can definitely see that their revenues on the taxation side have gone up tremendously."

Meanwhile, police say DUIs have also gone up in states that have legalized weed. They said it's difficult to measure how high a driver is in the same way they can with alcohol.

"It would become very confusing to citizens and law enforcement to figure it out," Illinois Association of Police Chiefs Director Ed Wojcicki said. "You can detect that there's something in the system, but at what level? We really can't tell."

Stone said dispensaries like his would gain money from legalization, but he thinks lawmakers should look at the issues in Colorado as reasons to be meticulous in crafting laws.

"Colorado, when they're talking about recreational users. They don't have a tracking program. I think what we need to do in this state is, whether you are recreational or medical, I think you need to have a tracking program, so that you know what. A person that's going recreational can't go to multiple dispensaries in the same day or the same week and get more product than they probably should be getting."

Stone also wants to make sure medical patients will be treated differently from recreational users.

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