2018 Primaries

Coalition for a Safer Illinois

2018 Primaries

Learn more about what you can do to help regulate marijuana like alcohol in Illinois. Sign up, volunteer, or contact your legislators.

Tuesday, March 30 is Illinois’ General Primary, when voters decide which candidates will advance to the General Election in November 2018. Early voting began on February 8. Every state legislative seat will be on the ballot, as will the governor’s office, the attorney general, and others statewide and local offices.

Illinois has made some significant reforms in its marijuana laws in recent years, including allowing medical cannabis and reducing the penalty for simple possession to a civil fine. Meanwhile, a robust conversation has begun about ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation and taxation. Voters who support sensible cannabis policy should know where their elected officials and candidates stand on these important issues.

Check out our voter guide below to find out where candidates stand on marijuana policy reform. To compile this list, we looked for public statements on marijuana policy along with voting records for significant marijuana legislation. Not all lawmakers have been in office dating back to 2013, so not all have voting records for the bills listed.

To verify if you are registered to vote, and to find out which district you are in, visit the State Board of Election’s voter registration lookup tool. For general questions, including locations for polling places, visit the agencies main page, here.

If a candidate for office in your district doesn’t have any listed information, consider reaching out to ask where they stand on regulating marijuana for adults. Let us know at [email protected] if you get any new information!

Please check out our voter guide, and share this information with other Illinois voters. And don’t forget to vote on or before March 30!

Democratic Candidates for Governor

JB Pritzker (D)
Grade: A+

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

“We don’t need more studies on this. We need to act. Let’s legalize marijuana. Let’s regulate it to make it safe. Let’s tax it. Let’s reinvest in the hardest hit communities.” (Reference: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/blunt-talk-from-democrats-about-legalizing-marijuana/amp/)

Daniel Biss (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: Yes
Bill extending medical marijuana program: Yes
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: Co-Sponsor

Comments:

When asked why he supports a regulatory approach for adult access, he included several reasons, "number one: social and racial justice, and number two: common sense regarding treatment [of substance abuse], and number three: revenue for the state. . . . If it were the wrong thing to do, I wouldn't do it just for the money." (Reference: https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2017/05/30/most-democratic-gubernatorial-candidates-favor-some-form-of-legal-weed-in-illinois)

Bob Daiber (D)
Grade: C

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

Indicated he would be willing to approve a law legalizing the drug “but I want a referendum that says the people passed it.” (Reference: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-illinois-governor-democrats-marijuana-20171018-story.html)

Chris Kennedy (D)
Grade: C

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

Now says he believes marijuana should be made legal, but believes it should be regulated through a learning institution or the federal government. “Chris further believes that the issue of legalizing marijuana should be separated from the issue of using taxes as a revenue stream to fund state government,” according to his website. (Reference: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article195560419.html)

Tio Hardiman (D)
Grade: D

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

Indicated he was supportive of reducing criminal penalties small amounts, but would not fully support legalization.

Republican Candidates for Governor

Bruce Rauner (R)
Grade: D

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: Signed
Bill extending medical marijuana program: Signed
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

While not supportive of legalization, he signed the decriminalization bill and signed bills to extend the medical cannabis program.

Jeanne Ives (R)
Grade: F

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: No
Bill extending medical marijuana program: No
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

Strongly opposed to legalization of marijuana and believes it is "the wrong way to solve our budget problems.” (Reference: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article195560419.html)

Democratic Candidates for Attorney General

Kwame Raoul (D)
Grade: A+

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: Yes
Bill extending medical marijuana program: Yes
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"Illinois has moved in the direction of legalization by way of supporting the use of medical marijuana and expanding upon that to cover more ailments. We have also moved to decriminalize possession of small amounts for personal use. The logical extension of these policies is to move toward legalization in a manner that appropriately regulates manufacture and distribution while taxing it capture the new economic activity that would accompany recreational use." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-kwame-raoul)

Sharon Fairley (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I support the legalization of marijuana so long as we are careful about regulating its use and distribution so as to ensure public safety." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-sharon-fairley)

Aaron Goldstein (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I believe marijuana should be legalized. One doesn’t have to be a user of marijuana to understand that the war on drugs—and the criminalization of marijuana in particular—has been an abysmal failure. Far too many of our citizens have been convicted and imprisoned for using marijuana, although little evidence exists to support our draconian drug laws." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-aaron-goldstein)

Renato Mariotti (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, with one important caveat. We need strict safeguards in place to prevent this from becoming another insider industry in Illinois where the privileged and politically connected succeed to the detriment of working people and small businesses." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-renato-mariotti)

Nancy Rotering (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"The benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana outweigh the negatives. Legalizing recreational marijuana would significantly reduce prison crowding and lower the cost of law enforcement." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-nancy-rotering)

Jesse Ruiz (D)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I fully support legalization of recreational adult use in Illinois with appropriate regulation, e.g. age restrictions and appropriate limitations on THC levels." (Reference: http://www.bnd.com/news/politics-government/election/article201306234.html)

Scott Drury (D)
Grade: B

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: Yes
Bill extending medical marijuana program: Yes
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I firmly believe Illinois will legalize marijuana in the near future, and I support that effort." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-scott-r-drury)

Pat Quinn (D)
Grade: B

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

Gov. Quinn signed the medical marijuana bill into law, but his administration was very slow to implement the program, resulting in delays. He said, ""I support legalization of recreational marijuana so long as strict requirements are put in place to regulate its production, distribution and retail sale in order to ensure that health and safety are protected, avoid corruption, and ensure that applicable taxes are paid. When I was Governor, I signed the bill to legalize medical marijuana." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-pat-quinn)

Republican Candidates for Attorney General

Erika Harold (R)
Grade: A

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"If approached in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, legalization should enable law enforcement officials to redirect their time and resources towards addressing more critical issues (such as the opioid epidemic), expand Illinois’ tax base, and decrease the number of people serving sentences for non-violent, marijuana-related offenses." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-erika-harold)

Gary Grasso (R)
Grade: F

Prior Voting Records:

Decriminalization: n/a
Bill extending medical marijuana program: n/a
Bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol: n/a

Comments:

"I could not in good conscience condone the legalization of marijuana and I would use the power of the Office of Attorney General to advocate against legalization of recreational marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug. It seems pretty clear to me that legalization of marijuana would lead to more problems associated with drug abuse." (Reference: http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180225/candidate-questionnaire-gary-grasso)

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