SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers sponsoring legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois released part two of a market study today, this time focusing on policy recommendations and best practices for a prospective legal market.

The study, commissioned by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), makes recommendations about a prospective legal cannabis system in Illinois, suggests policy alternatives, advises on practices to be avoided and highlights regulatory goals.

It also highlighted the need for Illinois to articulate clearly what should be expected upon legalization and provide the groundwork for the governing body that will oversee the industry.

“It is important that we work together to establish a functional adult-use cannabis market,” said State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the legislation’s House sponsor. “We’re crafting a governing body, establishing a timeline that works for everyone, and encouraging inter-agency cooperation to ensure that everyone is at the table.”

The study points out that the goal of any legal system should be to provide safe, regulated, consistent cannabis to consumers, while making restorative justice principles a priority, displacing illegal markets, decreasing problems related to substance abuse and maintaining public safety.

“It is important that the policy changes we enact reflect the needs of the people who have been unfairly incarcerated over the years,” said State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights). “If we are going to move in a positive direction, it is absolutely vital that we learn from our past and do our best to try and remedy the lingering effects our antiquated and harmful policies have had on neighborhoods and communities across the state.”

The study, performed by the consulting firm Freedman & Koski, noted that public policy requirements in laws and regulations can have an impact on attaining the right number and type of licensees capable of producing an adequate amount of cannabis in a cost effective, safe, and timely manner.

“One of our primary goals with creating a legal adult-use cannabis market is to begin righting the wrongs caused by prohibition,” Steans said. “Prohibition does not work. By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we hope to bring existing sales out of the illicit market, providing people with a safe, regulated product.”

The first part of the study, which was released earlier this month, showed that the demand from Illinois consumers would exceed what the state’s existing licensed growers could supply.

The first part of the study can be viewed here: Illinois_WP_DemSnap_022419.pdf.

The second part can be viewed here: 20190311_Illinois_WP_part2_Final.pdf

03142019CM0702 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation today requiring business, environmental and power agencies to work together to create a plan to make Illinois’ energy industry completely carbon-free by 2030.

“Recent reports from the scientific community show that climate change is an even more pressing issue than we imagined and that we must take immediate action in order to avoid disastrous consequences,” Steans said. “Since the current presidential administration shows little willingness to accept these facts, it is up to individual states to make the change to renewable energy.”

Steans’ measure tasks the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Power Agency to work together to design a policy plan to decarbonize Illinois’ energy sector and phase out polluting power plants over the next decade.

Many electric power plants burn coal, oil or natural gas in order to generate electricity for energy needs, which results in carbon emissions contributing to climate change. Whereas the renewable energy industry, comprising alternative energy and sustainable energy companies, includes carbon free alternatives such as hydroelectric power, wind power and solar power generation.   

This measure is a part of a larger effort by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Senate Bill 2020 passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee without opposition today and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

03062019CM0998 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke at a press conference Wednesday with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about her legislation that would develop a new state suicide prevention strategy.

Steans’ measure creates the Office of Suicide Prevention within the Department of Public Health in order to address suicide in Illinois, which caused more deaths in 2016 than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

“Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

There is currently no department charged with looking into ways to prevent suicide, which caused nearly 1,500 deaths in Illinois in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

Steve Moore, AFSP Illinois Chapter Board co-chair and National Public Policy Council member, joined Senator Steans to discuss best practices to prevent suicide and present an art project depicting the scope of suicides in Illinois.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, advocates at the Capitol placed 1,474 rose petals on an 8-foot poster inside the word “HOPE” as a graphic illustration of the number of Illinois residents lost to suicide.

“AFSP’s advocates have a personal stake in improving Illinois’ suicide prevention efforts,” Moore said.
“They have lost someone to suicide or fought against suicide themselves and want to ensure that others do not have to endure the same experience.”

Senate Bill 1425 has been assigned to the Senate Public Health Committee.


Dear Friends,

Since before the founding of our nation, women have been instrumental in shaping our country’s values and direction. Starting in 1995, we set aside the month of March each year to recognize the achievements and impact that women have had on our nation’s history.

Although our history classes make mention of suffragettes like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, there are many female historical figures who made great strides in different fields of work who have gone unnoticed. Sojourner Truth was a former slave who used her powerful voice and writing to spark conversations around abolition and women’s rights in the U.S. Rosalind Franklin’s images of the DNA molecule led to the understanding of its structure, but three male scientists were credited with its discovery instead. Millions more women have advocated for change, contributed to the workforce, and pulled and tugged at the American spirit.

It is important to tell these neglected stories from our past and recognize the countless accomplishments that women have made.

There are many events throughout Chicago celebrating Women’s History Month. Below are some of the events open to the public.


Citywide Events


Celebrating Irish Women

Thursday, March 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Edgewater Library

6000 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660

Early 20th century Ireland found women engaged in three main causes: workers’ rights, suffrage and Irish freedom. Maureen Smith from Loyola University will take a look at these causes and prominent figures from this time period including Countess Constance Markievicz and Dr. Kathleen Lynn. For more information, click here.

Women’s History Film Screening: Amelia

Friday, March 8, 2-4 p.m.

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605

Summary of the film: From the time she first sits in the pilot's seat, aviatrix Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) feels destined to achieve great things. Beginning in 1928, she sets a number of aviation milestones, including numerous speed and altitude records, and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. In 1937, Amelia undertakes her greatest challenge of all: to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by airplane. For more information, click here.


International Women’s Day Edgewater Crawl

Friday, March 8, 5-8 p.m.

The Edge Off Broadway Theatre

1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

Edgewater will be hosting a night to celebrate women-owned businesses. Come drink and mingle as you go along the route and explore what Edgewater has to offer. This event costs $35 for the general public. For more information, click here.


Film Screening: “The Rest I Make Up”

Monday, March 11, 4-6 p.m.

Crown 210 at Loyola University
1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660

Women’s studies and gender studies will be sponsoring a screening of the film “The Rest I Make Up.” The film is about the life of Maria Irene Fornes. For more information, click here.


Cinema Harold: Hidden Figures

Wednesday, March 13, 2-4 p.m.

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605

Summary of the film: As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers," this film follows them as they quickly rise the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return. Based on the book Hidden Figures. For more information, click here.


Women’s History When You Do the Work

Wednesday, March 13, 6-7 p.m.

Chicago Bee Library

3647 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60609

This event will host a family friendly personal development workshop performed by Courtney Winfrey and Ryan Hendry, who will focus on three self-improvement topics: setting purposed based intentions, goal setting and igniting your personal drive. The program is intended to engage the audience in being more mindful when thinking or planning their future goals. For more information, click here.


Truth Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

Thursday, March 14, 5:30-8 p.m.

Northwestern University, Harris Hall, Room 107

1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

This event is a community history project of the Frances Willard House Museum and Archives. In the 1890s, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union President Frances Willard and journalist and activist Ida B. Wells fought internationally for Wells’ anti-lynching campaign. Under Willard’s leadership, the WCTU eventually passed resolutions opposing lynching, but Willard’s language and actions complicate her legacy. Registration required at https://franceswillardhouse.org/. For more information, click here.


Borrow an Entrepreneur: Celebrating Women’s History Month

Friday, March 15, 10 a.m.-Noon

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605

The Human Library project began as a way for people to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. During this event, participants will have the opportunity to “check out” (sign up for 15 minutes with) a woman entrepreneur. Christen Carter, the owner and president of Busy Beaver Button Company, and Rebecca Wu, a self-published children’s author, will be available to share their experience and knowledge one-on-one. For more information, click here.


Adult Book Discussion: The Woman in Cabin 10

Thursday, March 28, Noon-1 p.m.

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605

Summary of the book: After a nightmarish break-in, British journalist Lo Blacklock is exhausted but happy to board an exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, on assignment. However, when she awakens to the sounds of a woman being thrown overboard, a real nightmare begins in earnest. For more information, click here.


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