Contrary to the position of Gov. Bruce Rauner and many fellow Republicans, state Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) recently issued a statement supporting the legalization of marijuana, drawing criticism from members of his own party.
Barickman went a step further than some advocates for legalization, approving not only the medical use of the drug, but recreational use as well, according to CapitolFax.com.
As reported in Cannabis Business Times (CBT), the Barickman’s stance openly contradicts Rauner’s views on the subject. Characterizing legalization as a mistake, the governor attempted to scuttle the idea by statements made in a TV interview with WSIL in Marion, quoted by CBT.
“I do not support legalizing marijuana,” Rauner said in the interview. “You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here.”
Robert Lindgren, who represents the Wall precinct on Ford County’s Republican Central Committee, used the slippery slope argument to question the wisdom of legalization. Ford County is in Barickman’s district.
“I feel that it’s foolish to make something legal just so it can be taxed,” Lindgren told the East Central Reporter. “What is next?”
Barickman, a first-term Illinois senator, has crossed party lines in the past. Wikipedia reports that he up-voted a gay marriage bill in 2013. His latest maverick position on marijuana drew criticism from several members of the Ford County Republican Central Committee.
As CapitolFax reported on Dec. 22, a committee meeting the previous week erupted in criticism: “Many voiced their objection to Barickman’s position, stating that marijuana is an addictive gateway drug that will lead to using other illicit drugs."
Lindgren echoed those sentiments.
“I do not support the legalization of marijuana, especially (for) recreational use,” Lindgren said in an email interview. “I believe that it (is) addictive and does long-term damage and leads to other harder drugs.”
Whether the contrarian positions Barickman has taken will threaten his re-election remains to be seen.
“I am upset with Sen. Barrickman for this stance,” Lindgren said. “It is not the first issue that I have not agreed with as (being) contrary to conservative beliefs.
“As a committee, it will not be a unanimous support for his re-election,” Lindgren added.