Evanston to be Ready 'Out of the Gate' When Recreational Marijuana Law Takes Effect

Rep. Cassidy, whose 14th District includes a swatch of south Evanston, highlighted some of the features of the legislation and fielded questions from community members in a lively session at  the Eighth Ward community meeting at the Levy Community Center on July 30.

“…What we know in states around the country that have passed legalization – and they have done it prior to us via a ballot referendum...they’ve all been kind of industry-centric bills which have resulted in making a handful of millionaires in states but not really restoring any of the communities that the war on drugs have had an impact on.”

By contrast, Illinois law was done “in a slow and thoughtful and transparent way. We had dozens of town hall meetings, we had, I think 10 public hearings, hundreds of stakeholder meetings,”  Rep. Cassidy said.

Source: Evanston Round Table

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Kelly Cassidy — ‘in the game’ to win

Pritzker considers Cassidy a personal friend and a leader. So does State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield.

”For many years, I’ve called Kelly Cassidy a friend and it has been an honor to work with her so closely on some very big issues in Springfield,” Pritzker told the Sun-Times. “She’s proven she’s a leader who fights for those who need representation the most and I look forward to continuing to work with her as she takes on even more big issues in Springfield.”

“I give her a lot of credit. Kelly works very hard. She’s very passionate about her issues and she certainly does a great job working with members on the other side of the aisle, trying to get her stuff done,” Butler said.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

Lea Negron
Weed cafes in Illinois? People could be allowed to smoke marijuana (not tobacco) at bars, restaurants under new law.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, the architect of the law legalizing recreational marijuana, says she and her colleagues in Springfield decided that social consumption of marijuana would be allowed but that the state wouldn’t license that, leaving it up to local officials.

She says it “felt like it made the most sense for them to be able to figure that out as it suits their communities. It’s really about licensing social consumption spaces, and that’s left very open for locals to determine what they want that to look like.”

Source: Chicago Sun TImes

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Illinois becomes 11th state to allow recreational marijuana

"Today, we're hitting the 'reset' button on the war on drugs," Cassidy said.

Residents may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents may have 15 grams. The law provides for cannabis purchases by adults 21 and older at approved dispensaries, which, after they're licensed and established, may start selling Jan. 1, 2020. 

Source: ABC News

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Illinois Recreational Marijuana Legalization Bill Signed Into Law

Rep. Kelly Cassidy, of Chicago, worked for more than two years with Steans and fellow Democratic co-sponsors, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, of Peoria, and Sen. Toi Hutchinson, of Chicago — a group she described as the "Marijuana Moms." She credited the involvement of Pritzker and his staff with making the difference in getting the bill passed.

"This bill is not perfect. It's not the end of the conversation. We've often noted that every year there are several alcohol-related bills debated in our chamber. This continues," Cassidy said. "But today, we're hitting the 'reset' button on the war on drugs. Today we begin the process of undoing the war on drugs. It's not a one-stop shop here."

Source: Patch

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With Legal Weed, South Side Neighborhoods Hurt By War On Drugs Will Get Economic Boost, Officials Say: ‘This Is Reparations’

The bill’s expungement component alone is more equity-focused than any other state effort combined, Cassidy said. She admits that the plan is ambitious — records would be automatically wiped, with those convicted avoiding court appearances and fees — but it’s a necessary part of the plan to make whole the communities that were harmed.

“What we’ve attempted to do is rethink how the entire industry grows. It’s like a three-legged stool: we’ve got the restoration process, we’ve got the reinvestment piece, and then we have the inclusion piece,” she said. “We’ve taken away the prohibition on people with low-level cannabis histories from being employed in the industry, we have created a process whereby folks with those histories and folks who come from communities that were disproportionately impacted will have a significant advantage in the licensing process, and to make sure there’s access to the industry, we’ve created more categories that allow for a lower cost of entry.”

Source: Book Club Chicago

Lea Negron
With Legal Weed, South Side Neighborhoods Hurt By War On Drugs Will Get Economic Boost, Officials Say: ‘This Is Reparations’

“Cassidy, who co-sponsored the bill with Steans, believes the new law will be effective enough to address all the concerns about equity. Cassidy and Steans have traveled across the state, pitching their idea at town halls.”

“The bill’s expungement component alone is more equity-focused than any other state effort combined, Cassidy said. She admits that the plan is ambitious — records would be automatically wiped, with those convicted avoiding court appearances and fees — but it’s a necessary part of the plan to make whole the communities that were harmed.”

“Cassidy has been helping some members of the New York state assembly — who have struggled to get similar legislation passed — as they craft their own bill.”

Source: Block Club Chicago

Lea Negron
How 4 'Marijuana Moms' Led Fellow Lawmakers to Legalization in Illinois

“Illinois state Sens. Toi Hutchinson and Heather Steans, and state Reps. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Kelly Cassidy, all Democrats, along with the bill's campaign manager, Rose Ashby, a former high-school English teacher, succeeded in guiding and delivering the bill over a two-year period.”

“‘Illinois succeeded because of great leadership from strong, committed women and the collaborative approach they took to build consensus and then follow through after the meetings ended.’”

“Cassidy advised legalization advocates in other states to ‘stay at the table when it's hard not to leave, to keep talking throughout the process, and never give up, not just with your side, but with your opponents as well.’”

Source: Weedmaps

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Legislator Kelly Cassidy Gets ‘Deep into the Weeds,’ Loves the Work

“Honestly, I love this work,” she said in a telephone interview. “I get deep into the weeds on issues. ... And quite frankly, if I’m going to spend this much time away from my family and my home, I’m going to make it worthwhile…I’m not there to play. I’m there to work.”

Kelly is fearless and she’s really bright,” Feigenholtz said, “and she knows a good opportunity when she sees it. And she’s tenacious. She’s not going to give up on anything.”

Source: Journal Star

Lea Negron
Illinois, Nevada Among States Increasing Abortion Rights In 2019

The Reproductive Health Act had stalled since its introduction in February, and in mid-May, its sponsor, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, held a protest to call for movement on the act.

“I think that there is a lack of understanding of the urgency,” Cassidy told ABC News last month.

But, “this threat” to reproductive rights “is real,” she said.

Cassidy, who is part of a Democratic majority in the legislative body, supports the bill not just to preserve abortion access for the people of Illinois, she said, but also for the people from neighboring states — where restrictions are harsher — who go to Illinois for abortions.

Source: KSRO

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Reproductive Health Act passes after emotional debate, narrow vote

“I think people have a false sense of security around these issues when the reality is that women are in real danger in Illinois as the result of our inaction,” Cassidy said at the beginning of the month.

The legislation’s passage comes as a hard-fought triumph for its sponsor, Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy. She said after months of working to advance this initiative down a path that at times has “not been very easy,” she is “very pleased” at its success.

Cassidy said she is also feeling “relief, just relief that this step is over and that we are poised to affirm our support for reproductive freedom in Illinois and intentionally stand out from all these other states that are attacking women’s rights.”

Source: The Chicago Crusader

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New Law Makes Abortion 'Fundamental Right'

"There is a war against women, a war on bodily autonomy," Cassidy said. "Our opponents are using hateful, untrue, and outright misogynist rhetoric which escalates daily and endangers women everywhere."

The Reproductive Health Act goes beyond the controversial HB-40 measure former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed in 2017. The new law requires health insurance companies cover abortion procedures, it blocks husbands from preventing their wife from getting an abortion, and it assures doctors they won't face any criminal or civil penalties for performing the procedure.

Source: KSNT News

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Gov. Pritzker Signs Reproductive Health Act, Making Illinois a National Leader Amid Flurry of Attacks on Reproductive Rights

“While all around us opponents are using misinformation and misogyny to justify attacks on bodily autonomy, I’m proud that here in Illinois, we’ve declared unequivocally that we trust patients and doctors to make these decisions safely and privately,” said Representative Kelly Cassidy, the House sponsor of the RHA.

“The law is now clear in Illinois: decisions about reproductive health care are between patients, their family members, doctors and other health care providers,” said Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois. “Thank you Governor Pritzker for making this policy the law of the land. Thank you to all the legislators who worked to move this measure forward, especially sponsors Senator Melinda Bush and Representative Kelly Cassidy. And, special thanks to the thousands of Illinois residents who spoke up and made their voice heard over the past few months. Your involvement made this victory possible.”

Source: RiverBender

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Illinois Makes History After General Assembly Approves Marijuana Legalization

“‘We have created an approach that revolves around finding a way to inject equity into the industry,’ Cassidy told Cheddar. The law also dedicates ‘a pretty significant chunk of the revenue to investments in communities that have historically been harmed by the war on drugs.’

Yet, Cassidy noted that the tax on cannabis will be comparatively lower than in other states to keep the products accessible and affordable.

‘We are really mindful of the need to not over tax this product,’ she said, adding that she wanted ‘to make sure that we don't see folks being driven back into the illicit market place.’”

Source: Cheddar

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Illinois State Representative On Abortion Rights Bill

“Courts over the years have actually spoken directly to this (independent rights of fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses) . Without that provision, without that distinction, there is a risk that a fetus and a woman would be cast as adversaries from the very beginning of pregnancy. And so it's important that there be those protections so that a woman can carry out a pregnancy making her own independent health decisions, whether that is carrying a pregnancy to term or not. So that was one of the pieces that I think folks had trouble understanding,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy.

“Ultimately, what we've been is defeated in a national election and seen the courts loaded up with appointees whose positions reflect that election outcome. And that's the fear - you know, that the president ran promising to overturn Roe. And looking at these appointees to the courts, it's pretty clear that that's one promise he's probably going to be able to deliver on.”

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Rezin says no to budget with raises for lawmakers; Governor defends actions

“This session we made Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for reproductive healthcare. We showed the nation that we trust women to make the most personal and fundamental decisions of their lives. Thank you to Representative Kelly Cassidy, Senator Melinda Bush and Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood, ACLU and countless advocates and groups around the state. “

Source: News Tribune

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Illinois House approves marijuana legalization bill backed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker

“With a bipartisan vote of 66-47, the House approved a bill Friday that had been passed by the Senate Wednesday. “

“Supporters hailed the measure as an acknowledgement that the prohibition of marijuana has failed, and they argued that the bill will begin to address decades of racial disparities in the prosecution of drug crimes. “

“‘Prohibition hasn’t built communities. In fact, it has destroyed them,’ said Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who worked with Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans for more than two years to craft the bill.”

Source: The Chicago Tribune

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