Those lines around the block for recreational pot, that eye-popping $10.8 million in sales over the first five days, the talk of supply shortages and an oversupply of license applicants: They’ve got Illinois giddy about pot.
Sort of like a teenager smoking that first joint.
And the best advice I can give — to policymakers, budget setters and novice pot smokers alike — is to take it slow. Don’t overindulge. To assume, based on these first few days, that Illinois’ experiment with cannabis will be a surefire success would be a new form of reefer madness.
That’s not to say Illinois’ experiment with weed will fail. Or that it was a bad idea from the start.
David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.
Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.