CHICAGO—Democrats running in state primaries across the country have been promoting legal marijuana as a painless way to raise money while avoiding tax increases.
In Illinois, the candidates vying to be the party’s gubernatorial nominee are so invested in the issue they have been attacking one another for failing to embrace it with enough vigor.
Businessman J.B. Pritzker, who leads in polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, has been flooding Facebook with ads touting his intention to legalize marijuana, both to address disparities in the criminal-justice system and to raise state revenue by taxing it.
The co-founder of the Pritzker Group, who has spent $63 million of his own money in his run for office according to campaign finance reports, also has criticized his opponent, Chris Kennedy, a developer and son of Robert F. Kennedy, for initially backing decriminalization rather than outright legalization.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Kennedy said he is fundamentally pro-legalization and has recently changed his campaign website to reflect that.
A third Democratic candidate, state Sen. Daniel Biss, has pointed to his legislative record as proof that he has sought to legalize pot.