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State Lawmakers Launch Latest Effort To Legalize Marijuana In Illinois

CHICAGO (CBS) -- State lawmakers and advocacy groups have launched the latest effort in Illinois to legalize the recreational use of marijuana here.

Chicago State Senator Heather Steans said prohibition hasn't worked for recreational marijuana any more than it did for liquor in the 1920's, so it ought to be regulated and taxed. The Marijuana Policy Project estimates that legalizing recreational marijuana could generate between $350-million and $700-million. WBBM's Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

"We estimate that doing it this way, can generate revenues up to $350-million and $700-million, so it'd be given the way we are right now in the state, we think talking about this revenue potential is timely and important," Steans said.

North Side State Representative Kelly Cassidy said the lawmakers are willing to move slowly and deliberately towards passage.

"The bill that has been introduced reflects some of the lessons learned in other states that have already gone all the way to tax and regulate, but we also want to have a really thorough and thoughtful conversation," Cassidy said.

The group, Coalition for a Safer Illinois said a majority of Illinois voters are ready for a better approach.

A legislative hearing's scheduled for next week.

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