CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Ever since Illinois Governor JB Pritzker started campaigning, he’s said that he wants to legalize and tax recreational marijuana use in the state. Now, that is starting to look like much more of a reality, as the legislation just passed in the State Senate.
The bill passed 38-17 on Wednesday, May 29. Now it must be passed by the State House of Representatives before it goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
In Carbondale, a new smoke shop selling tobacco pipes and CBD products opened about three weeks ago. It’s owned by Jacob Buckman, a southern Illinois native, who said he moved to Oregon to be a marijuana cultivator after it was legalized there.
He said he saw the community he moved to grow quickly after legalization.
“It was a really small community,” he said. "But as years went by that community got bigger and bigger and bigger, because everybody wanted to go there. Everybody was commuting to Oregon.”
It’s almost guarantee a business like Buckman’s is going to benefit if pot is legalized. However, Jennifer Olson, president of Carbondale’s Chamber of Commerce, says they’re figuring out how much it would directly benefit the city.
“I’m not sure how the money would flow into the commerce of the city as far as taxes go,” she said.
For businesses that don’t cater to smokers and perhaps future pot-smokers, Olson said business owners are also racking their brains on how to handle legalization in the work place. Particularly with drug testing.
“You know, they don’t know if that was a couple Saturdays ago at a party,” she said. "Or is that in the parking lot before you walked in to do your job.”
As the debate continues in Springfield, Buckman is looking toward a greener future for his store.
“I’m expecting to see a lot of people walk through that door,” he said.