Recently we reported that fireworks, the fun kind we can't currently legally get in the Land of Lincoln, could soon become legal thanks to a bill going before the state legislature. At the same time, cannabis legalization is set to be an advisory ballot issue (meaning it's a poll of the public opinion, not an actual vote for legalization) in this November's mid-term elections. But which should be legalized first?

Fireworks

I don't want to say they're harmless, because they're not. It's a mini-explosive. You're going to lose fingers if you mishandle them. Let's not kid ourselves by saying these don't cause injury. But outside of a few bits of anecdotal evidence, by and large fireworks are pretty safe. Sure they're annoying when your dumbass neighbor is setting them off at three in the morning on July 10th, scaring your toddler, your dog, and any local vets. But that, and the injuries, have not been stopped, nor even slowed, by the ban. Because you can't regulate common courtesy or common sense. And with the availability of fireworks just across the border, literally any border as all of our surrounding states allow fireworks, it's pointless to have the ban on fireworks. Illinoisans are cheating their own state out of tax dollars. Let's bring that on home.

That's the pro. You know the con? All that stuff about setting them off during non-seasonal times, and scaring people and all that? Yeah, that's a pretty big con. So is the fact that they ARE seasonal. Like... great fireworks are legal now. Can't do anything till June with that so whatever. Yeah, ultimately it'll be fine and we'll reap the rewards. But that's way off in the future, unlike...

Cannabis

I will neither confirm nor deny my dalliances with the devil's lettuce. The wacky-tobaccy. I won't say that I've rocked the ganj, or smoked the reefer. Mostly because this is a work website, I know the higher-ups (no pun intended) read this, and I mostly like my job. So we'll just stick to the facts on this, regardless of my personal experiences with lava lamps, Pink Floyd records, and hollowed out apples. The medicinal purposes alone make it worthwhile, alleviating the nausea that accompanies chemo treatments and helping with loss-of-appetite, reducing the pain from arthritis, helping with the side-effects of MS, to even reducing the psychological effects of depression, anxiety and PTSD. It's even been shown as a better, non-habit forming alternative to opiods, and as we all know, we're in the middle of an opiod addiction crisis.

Now, this is no way an endorsement of Cannabis as a wonder-drug that will cure anything. It can't and won't. But it has been shown to aid in recovery and maintenance of serious medical issues. That is certainly not something to be ignored.

Beyond the medical reasons, it's just fun (so I'm told). It's less habit forming than cigarettes and alcohol, it's not as bad for you as cigarettes and alcohol, and generally when I was (or wasn't) high, I didn't get out much. I wasn't out causing trouble or driving impaired. You don't want to. You just want to chill. Probably. Not that I would or wouldn't know either way.

And much like fireworks, that's a lot of tax revenue we're leaving on the table. Colorado took in almost $250million in tax revenue in 2017 on cannabis sales alone. California could pull in $1billion... with a "B," in just tax revenue, for just that one state. Adjusted for population size, Illinois could pull in about $500million in tax revenue on cannabis sales alone.

And we'd feel this immediately. Unless it's an edible in which case give it about 20 minutes.

Or so I'm told. I wouldn't know.

What do you think? Which should be legalized first?