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Chicago congressional candidate lights one in campaign ad to promote legalization

Chicago politics are and have been very complicated for years. From the mob rigging elections to illegal voting districts, the city of wind’s political circuit has been notorious as long as the city has been around.

And this year’s election season is no different.

In what has to be a first for a running congressional candidate, Benjamin Thomas Wolf, who is running against incumbent Mike Quigley in the 5th District, released a photo ad on Monday featuring him sitting in front of an American flag painting while puffing a joint.

Wolf told the Sun Times,

“As a cannabis user, I think it’s important we get out front and talk about it. We realize that cannabis can bring billions of dollars to the state, it’s medicine for millions of people around the country, it changes criminal justice reform and personally I think it’s a wonderful recreational substance as well.”

The ad, which was released earlier this week, seems like pretty perfect timing as millions of voters in the state’s most populous county will be asked to decide for themselves whether Illinois should end cannabis prohibition.

Though nonbiding, because Cook county holds nearly half of the Illinois total population, a “yes” on the ballot question on March 20th could be the push needed to legalize the drug, which is currently being considered by state legislators.

The question reads:

“Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

It’s a move that clearly appeals to the younger voters but also one that shows the growing acceptance of the plant. Wolf is incredibly open about smoking, telling the Sun Times the joint was left over from poker night with his campaign staff.

It may just work for the part restaurant owner and college professor. In November, when Illinoisans are asked whether they support legalizing recreational marijuana in a referendum, Wolf sitting down smoking a joint will be hard to forget.

The congressional hopeful also proposes to spend all the state revenue from the drug on public education and drug rehabilitation centers, as well as pardoning all those incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. 

Only time will tell how well he does.