Illinois Justice Project

R3 Media

R3 In the Media

Peoria Star Journal: Mitchell: Community Restoration, Renovation is Critical to Cannabis Legalization.

Rep. Gordon-Booth understood that simply legalizing possession of cannabis would not be enough, and she insisted the legislation include a new program — Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) — with grants to help communities plagued by disinvestment and violence.

After enforcement and administrative costs are paid, the bill earmarks 25 percent of the remaining cannabis tax revenues to violence reduction, community health initiatives and continued rehabilitation of people leaving prison and returning to these communities, which could include Peoria. The investment in these types of programs was the key to reducing violence in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Peoria Star Journal: State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth Details what Marijuana Bill Could Mean for Peoria Neighborhoods.

(AUDIO INTERVIEW INCLUDED)

The Trace: Legal Weed Could Send Millions of Dollars to Illinois’s Violence Prevention Groups

Now, gun violence prevention groups may have found a boon in an unlikely source: legal weed. Last month, Illinois lawmakers approved legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill earmarks a sizable share of the state’s expected profits to anti-violence efforts in underprivileged neighborhoods. Service providers say the move could inject tens of millions of dollars into struggling community programs, greatly expanding opportunities for at-risk Chicagoans and potentially reducing gun violence. The state’s new Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, has been a vocal champion of marijuana legalization and is expected to sign the bill.

“This could have a huge effect on violent crime rates and give Chicago a second opportunity to really be the world-class city that we know that it is,” said Monique K. Shelton, a program manager with the Centers for New Horizons, a community group. “We’re on the cusp of something really spectacular.”

Crain’s Chicago Business: How Pritzker's Cannabis Legislation Could Reduce Violence

We can’t expect police and prisons alone to end a public health crisis for substance abuse and gun violence, problems that require the delivery of mental health services, youth mentoring, jobs, and other holistic interventions. Local and state governments have never had a problem paying for the punitive solutions that have gotten us to where we are now, where substance abuse and community violence have reached unacceptable levels.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to legalize the adult use of cannabis addresses both issues, the racially discriminatory enforcement of cannabis laws and violent crime rates, which could be reduced through the Restoring Our Communities (NOW CALLED R3) program.

Chicago Tribune: Hundreds Rally in Springfield to Demand Pot Tax Revenue go to Communities Hard Hit by Low-Level Drug Crime

“What I’m most concerned about is the hundreds of lives we’ve lost in Chicago. And not only in Chicago but the surrounding areas. The hundreds of black and brown lives,” Walker said. “And so my question to them would be, how much is my black and brown life to you? How much is my black and brown sister and brother to you? Because to me, we deserve 100 percent of that tax, but we’re only asking for 25 percent.

“We want our 25 percent, we want the records expunged, we want this money to go toward mental health services, gun violence, re-entry — all of that belongs to us,” Walker said.

Chicago Tonight: Lt. Gov. Stratton on Ensuring ‘Springfield is Working for the People

  • (VIDEO INTERVIEW INCLUDED)