ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Illinois lawmakers are hearing testimony on the potential economic impact of legalizing recreational marijuana.

Proponents say taxing and regulating recreational pot could raise hundreds of million dollars for the state. TV travel host and marijuana legalization advocate Rick Steves says there are other benefits, too.

“I think the beauty of this economically is getting rid of the crime, getting rid of the people that are going to jail and getting more credibility for police on the streets to fight hard drug abuse. There are so many secondary economic benefits that need to be tied in along with how many jobs this is going to create and how many tax revenues this is going to create,” he says.

Supporters hope to pass a legalization bill next year. Opponents argue this would lead to more people doing harder drugs.

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