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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Pushes Illinois to Legalize Recreational Marijuana As Soon As Possible

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Many politicians in Illinois are pushing for the state to legalize recreational marijuana as soon as possible. And now the leader of the state’s biggest city is adding his name to that list.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will give a speech today in which he’ll push for recreational marijuana legalization as a fix to the city’s growing pension crisis. The city’s four public worker pension funds are underfunded by around $27 billion, and Emanuel says marijuana legalization as well as the opening of a casino in Chicago (another proposal he’ll push for in his speech today) will help solve the issue.

Many believe Illinois will become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. Incoming Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker supports legalizing recreational marijuana, and several high-ranking Democrats (who control the state legislature) are promoting the issue as well. 

Emanuel has been largely lukewarm to marijuana legalization, but in excerpts from his upcoming speech, it appears the mayor acknowledges that it will inevitably become a reality so the state might as well embrace it now rather than later.

While Pritzker may be taking office next month and will get at least four years as the Illinois governor, Emanuel says he will not run for re-election next year and will be leaving office in May. So while Emanuel seems keen on legalizing marijuana for budgetary reasons, it’s possible that the next mayor of Chicago will not be as invested in the issue.

(h/​t USA Today)

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