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Legislature Hears Pros, Cons on Marijuana Legalization

Law enforcement officials and drug-policy experts have differing takes on whether Illinois should legalize general use of marijuana. 

A joint Senate-House committee took testimony Wednesday on legalization.

The sponsors Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy. The Chicago Democrats say their plan would allow police to focus violent crimes and provide tax revenue for a cash-strapped state budget. 

Cassidy says the aim is to regulate and ensure the safety of a widely used product.

Several state's attorneys told the committee there's evidence that marijuana use leads to abusing harder drugs. They say roads would be less safe because of motorists driving under the influence of the drug. 

Neill Franklin is a retired Maryland State Police major. He says it would be safer to legalize and regulate marijuana. 

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