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Who’s profiting off the millions that Illinois’ marijuana business is bringing in? State officials are keeping that secret.

3/3/20--Marijuana entrepreneurs are starting to rake in millions of dollars a month in Illinois as customers line up to buy newly legal weed, but who’s profiting from those sales remains secret. Regulators say state law bars the release of almost all the information businesses have to submit to get lucrative licenses to grow or sell cannabis. Read

Weapons and Weed: Legal marijuana causing confusion among gun control advocates

2/2/20--Currently in Illinois, the rules for people to legally own a gun and use recreational marijuana are hazy, and people are worried they must choose. The state became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, but gun advocates do not believe the legislation is bulletproof. Cannabis is still considered illegal by the federal government. Read

Illinois’ congressional delegation mixed on cannabis legalization

1/17/19--Despite Illinois legalizing cannabis for adults over 21 to purchase, possess and consume, some Illinois congressmen are sounding off on if the federal government should follow suit. Several Democratic U.S. Representatives from Illinois are signing on to the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act in Congress, but the measure has yet to advance. In the first 12 days of sales, Illinois state officials said there was nearly $20 million in marijuana products sold. Read

Surge in ER visits after new marijuana laws take effect

1/11/20--Illinois doctors and other health officials report a surge in emergency room visits from people overindulging on cannabis. However, Illinois is not alone in the surge of marijuana-related hospital visits following its legalization for recreational use. According to multiple studies, Colorado doctors saw close to triple the number of cannabis-induced emergency room cases after it was legalized for recreational use there. Doctors say edibles tend to cause the majority of issues. Read

Using marijuana is legal — but it can still get you fired. ‘Human resource professionals in Illinois will have their hands full.’

1/10/20--In Illinois, employers are allowed to fire workers who bring cannabis to the office and show up impaired or fail random drug tests, according to the state’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana use. Companies also are able to reject job applicants who don’t pass drug screens. However, employers that take action against their workers still could face legal questions, leaving Illinois employers in somewhat of a quandary about what they can and should be doing in terms of drug testing and a positive marijuana result. Read

Health experts expect rise in pot-related ER visits after legalization

12/31/19--As Illinoisans prepared to legally buy weed for the first time, officials at Stroger Hospital geared up to treat those who inevitably have bad trips. According to a hospital spokesperson, Stroger hospital staff received additional training ahead of legalization taking effect. Read

Legal weed in Illinois: A new era begins as legal recreational marijuana goes on sale in Chicago and across the state

1/1/20--Thus far, the first day of legal recreational weed sales in Illinois has meant long lines. So far, 43 marijuana stores around the state have received all needed approvals to sell recreational weed. Six of them weren’t ready Jan. 1, held up by permitting issues, construction, or other hurdles. Read

Minooka says no to recreational marijuana businesses

12/2/19--The Minooka Village Board voted to prohibit marijuana business establishments its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Trustees Chad Hrechko, Dennis Martin, Ric Offerman and Dick Parrish voted in favor of the ban, and Trustees Terry Houchens and Barry Thompson voted against it. Read

Where you can and can’t buy recreational marijuana in Illinois

11/15/19-Recreational marijuana sales will become legal in Illinois beginning Jan. 1. However, many municipalities have voted to restrict or ban the sale of marijuana in some manner already. Illinois Policy provides a guide as to where you can and cannot buy marijuana beginning in 2020. Read

Sugar Grove bans sale of recreational marijuana

11/6/19--On Tuesday night, the Sugar Grove Village Board Tuesday night banned the sale of recreational marijuana in the village. The board deadlocked 3-3 on the issue, with Village President Sean Michels breaking the tie by voting against marijuana sales. Michels said before the Tuesday night meeting that “each board member was entitled to speak” about the issue and that “everybody knew their position” on the matter. Read

Vernon Hills says no to recreational marijuana sales

11/6/19--Vernon Hills has become the most recent Lake County community to ban the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The village board on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting cannabis businesses in town when the sale and possession of recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Read

Illinois marijuana law aims to undo harm of war on the drug

11/2/19--When lawmakers crafted the law legalizing marijuana in Illinois, they tried to make sure it would right what many see as past wrongs linked to the drug. In addition to expunging hundreds of thousands of criminal records for marijuana arrests and convictions, the law’s architects added provisions meant to benefit communities that have been the most adversely affected by law enforcement’s efforts to combat the drug. Read

Opt in vs. opt out: How recreational marijuana has created dueling grassroots movements

11/2/19--Dueling grass-roots movements of suburban residents are rising up to make their voices heard on the presence of recreational marijuana stores. At issue are the locations of 75 dispensary licenses the state of Illinois will award by May 1, with more to come later, to sell recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older. At the heart of the opt out effort, supporters say, is a desire to protect children from the potential harms of normalized marijuana use. Read

Marijuana DUI cases could cost the city and create staffing issues says Bloomington PD

10/28/19--Police state wide will be on high alert for drivers under the influence of marijuana once it becomes legal on January 1st. Bloomington Assistant Chief Greg Scott said the policing process isn’t much different than drunk driving. However, a DUI stop for marijuana could take an hour or more longer for the officer than a stop for alcohol, and with extra time being spent on these calls, Scott worries staffing could be an issue. Read

Sen. Toi Hutchinson to step down, become “cannabis czar”

9/26/19--Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) is resigning to oversee implementation of the new cannabis legalization law. Hutchinson will oversee the activities of five state agencies: Agriculture, Public Health, Revenue, DCEO, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She’ll also have sway over the Illinois State Police’s policies. Read

Can Illinois draw marijuana tourists from out of state? Retailers are taking a gamble on Illinois border towns.

9/27/19--Cannabis companies in Chicago are eyeing sites far beyond city limits. Illinois border towns say they’re fielding calls from operators in search of sites that would make it easy for customers to cross into their communities to shop, bringing tax dollars with them. However, none of the neighboring states have legalized recreational marijuana. Read

Are CBD products safe? A new state bill would require lab testing of cannabidiol items.

10/3/19--A bill, from Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, would require all CBD products sold in Illinois to meet testing requirements that would be developed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Some products put themselves through third-party testing to prove they contain the promised levels of CBD, but there is no standard requirement. Read

Oswego wants public input on sale of recreational marijuana

8/22/19--The Oswego Village Board is looking for resident input as it prepares to discuss whether recreational marijuana should be sold in the village. Illinois lawmakers in July legalized adult use of recreational marijuana starting Jan. 1, and now municipalities across the state have to decide whether to allow its sale in their communities. Read

As Illinois determines whether to limit potency of legalized pot, drug gets increased scrutiny after link to psychosis

7/10/19--As Illinois prepares to legalize marijuana next year, one key aspect of public health that regulators will consider is whether and how to limit the amount of THC — the chief component of marijuana that determines how high users get. Advocates say the link between THC potency and psychosis has generated increased concern recently among psychiatrists and researchers. Read

Illinois truckers held to high standard as state prepares for marijuana legalization

6/14/19--The Illinois Trucking Association says that although marijuana use will be legal shortly in the state, truck drivers need to be held to a high standard. Drivers will not be allowed to have any THC in their system. Leaders say legalization of the drug could put an extra strain on an industry that is already struggling to attract new workers. Read

Not too long ago, a marijuana supplier was a drug dealer. Now it’s a ‘creditworthy tenant,’ as Chicago weed companies grow.

5/11/19--The marijuana industry is surging in Illinois and around the country, but despite all the growth many of those companies have continued to operate in the same spaces they launched in, until now. At least half a dozen marijuana companies in Chicago have moved or expanded their headquarters in the past several months. Executives had been waiting for certainty in an industry built on sales of a still federally illegal drug. Read

Marijuana bill likely to come up early when lawmakers return

4/25/19--Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat and key supporter of an initiative to legalize adult recreational marijuana in the state, said substantial bill language will be filed soon, and the issue could be one of the first discussed by state lawmakers when they return to the Statehouse from their two-week spring break next week. Read

Legal weed is great, but black and brown communities can’t be left behind

1/11/19--Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now, a grassroots community organization working to build power and fight for racial, social and economic justice in low-income Black communities in Chicago, believes marijuana legalization must bring both equity and justice for those most impacted by the War on Drugs. According to Johnson, while it’s critically important both for Black and Brown entrepreneurs to gain equal access to the burgeoning market, using marijuana revenue to fill budget gaps and backlogged debt does a grave disservice to the decades of inequity faced by communities of color as a result of the War on Drugs. Read

New Illinois Mason-Dixon poll shows large majority opposes legalizing recreational marijuana

2/5/18--According to a recent poll conducted by Mason-Dixon and paid for by SAM Action, only 23 percent of Illinois residents 18 and older approve of legalizing recreational marijuana use and sales when given a choice. The majority of residents, 69 percent, want to maintain current decriminalization laws, repeal medical marijuana, or keep recreational marijuana illegal. Read

Push to legalize recreational pot in Illinois takes step forward

11/7/17--Illinois voters could soon be able to voice their say on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana. Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey is moving forward with an effort to put the marijuana legalization question on the March ballot. He wants voters to have a direct opportunity to have their voices heard as the debate on this issue in Springfield continues. Read

Law school podcast: Cannabis and the law

9/21/17--In the 14th episode of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Planet Lex podcast series, host Dean Daniel Rodriguez talks to Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, and Northwestern Law alumna Dina Rollman, chief counsel at Green Thumb Industries (GTI), about the complexities of the marijuana industry, including how Illinois has set a precedent for regulatory programs, the banking challenges facing cultivators, and the battle for more research within the United States. They also discuss the role of lawyers within the cannabis business, and how they each got involved in this new and evolving industry. Read

Medical cannabis could be harder to access

6/18/17--U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions is working to make medical marijuana harder to access throughout the nation. On Monday, a letter was released where he proposed undoing federal medical marijuana protections currently in place. Chris Stone, the CEO of HCI Alternatives, a medical cannabis dispensary, said they serve around 500 patients a month. He worries that if Sessions is able to have legalization of marijuana revoked, his patients will rely on other relief methods like opioids. Read

Machine gun, 350 pounds of marijuana seized from sprawling McHenry mansion

5/26/17--Several people are accused of running a large-scale drug operation out of a McHenry County mansion. Multiple area law enforcement agencies carried out a raid that netted large amounts of drugs, cash, and a .50-caliber machine gun from a 17,000-square-foot Bull Valley home, according to police. Read

Deputies seize 350 pounds of marijuana from Bull Valley mansion

5/25/17--Prosecutors are moving to seize a $1.6 million Bull Valley mansion they say was bought with drug money after finding about 350 pounds of marijuana and a military-style machine gun inside the 17,000-square-foot home set on more than 30 acres in one of McHenry County's most affluent towns. Read

Bill introduced to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Illinois

4/12/17--A new bill being introduced in the Illinois House would legalize the drug. In its current form, the bill would allow people to have less than 28 grams of marijuana, under the same structure the state's medical marijuana program currently uses. Lawmakers sponsoring the bill say it will provide safe products, which are taxed and licensed to consumers, while also providing $350 to $700 million in revenue. Read

Coalition for Safer Illinois

4/12/17--Safer Illinois is a coalition that supports replacing the harmful and ineffective prohibition of marijuana with sensible regulations and taxation. The organization believes adults 21 and older should not be penalized for using a product that is safer than alcohol. Additionally, Safer Illinois believes that thoughtful regulation and education is a safer approach than marijuana prohibition for both cannabis consumers and communities. Read

Marijuana cultivation center may bring further economic development to Carbondale

4/8/17--Carbondale city officials said they hope the expansion of a new medical marijuana cultivation center in the city will spark local economic growth. City manager Gary Williams said the cultivation center, located east of the Southern Illinois Airport, is a legally licensed facility that grows medical marijuana for state approved medical marijuana dispensaries. Read

Newsviews: legalizing marijuana in Illinois

4/2/17--A proposal's been made to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Illinois. The lawmakers behind this measure say the money could be used to help close the state's budget gap. Police have said this could be an enforcement nightmare. Read

Man charged after marijuana, gun found in stroller with child inside

3/26/17--Anthony Kennedy was arrested after Chicago police said he was pushing a baby stroller stuffed with marijuana and a handgun while a child was inside. The baby was placed in the care of a relative. Kennedy's charges include possession of a handgun and marijuana and child endangerment. Read

Illinois lawmakers see marijuana legalization as gateway to fiscal boost

3/27/17--Marijuana advocates are trying to lay the groundwork for Illinois to become the first state in the Midwest and the ninth nationwide to legalize recreational pot, arguing the move will help solve the state's notorious budget crisis. The two Illinois state lawmakers who introduced the legislation say it would help fill Illinois' multibillion-dollar budget hole with $350 to $700 million in new tax revenue. Read

Illinois looks toward legal marijuana with bills in House and Senate

3/23/17--Illinois, one of the nation’s most populous states, filed proposed pro-pot legislation in the state House and Senate. Democrats proposed identical bills in both chambers that would legalize the use, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana, and establish a framework for taxing and regulating the plant, potentially making Illinois the next state to skirt the federal prohibition on pot. Read

Marijuana legalization bill introduced in Springfield

3/23/17--Lawmakers introduced legislation in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday to legalize and tax marijuana for adults in the state. Under the proposed new law, marijuana would be restricted under the law in much the same as is alcohol under state law. Furthermore, the new legislation would put the state in charge of regulating and licensing businesses to grow, distribute, and sell marijuana. Read

Permits filed for medical marijuana dispensary in DeKalb County

3/4/17--After three businesses competed for permission to build one medical marijuana dispensary allowed by the state in DeKalb County, the DeKalb City Council voted unanimously to give the final approval to the permit requested by Justice Grown for a medical marijuana dispensary in the multi-tenant building on the southeast corner of Peace Road and Pleasant Street. Read

Man charged with delivering marijuana near Aurora school

1/6/17--Cody J. Vance, 24, was charged with several drug-related felonies, including delivering marijuana near a school on Aurora's West Side. Police seized about 148 grams of marijuana and nine-tenths of a gram of a powdery substance that contained heroin, morphine and codeine. Read

Oswego decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana

1/4/17--Oswego has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in the village. Now it is a civil, rather than a criminal, offense for anyone caught with 10 grams of marijuana or less. Read

Medical marijuana gummies removed from dispensaries

12/23/16--Some packages of medical marijuana gummies produced in Illinois have been pulled from dispensary shelves and destroyed because of what appeared to be mold, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. An official with Ataraxia, the company that produced the gummies at its downstate marijuana cultivation center, said internal quality control procedures revealed that a new type of packaging allowed moisture inside a small number of 100 mg gummy multi-packs. Read

Doctor says Naperville North gummy bear candy contained marijuana

12/7/16--Jennifer E. McNulty, medical director for the Pediatric Emergency Department and Pediatrics at Edward Hospital where 14 sick Naperville North High School students were treated, said the gummy bear candy the students ate contained marijuana. Based on McNulty's  observations of and conversations with the students, as well as her medical expertise, she is convinced the candy was either manufactured or laced with marijuana or marijuana oil. Read

Clinic that screens, monitors medical marijuana patients opens in Pekin

11/16/16--The Medical Cannabis Pain Management & Wellness Clinic, pharmacy a new business in a small Pekin, doctor will register people eligible for the state’s medical marijuana program, generic then analyze how those patients respond to the drug’s treatment. The new clinic is the fourth in the state operated by Medical Cannabis Outreach, but the only one that will conduct studies of the results of its clients’ marijuana therapy. Read

Doctor subpoenaed in Illinois medical marijuana investigation

9/27/16--Dr. Bodo Schneider, who works at a clinic where many patients try to access the state's medical marijuana program, has been subpoenaed in a state and federal investigation. The investigation is in response to alleged improper controlled-substance prescriptions from the southern Illinois doctor. Read

Seniors told medical marijuana ‘isn’t just smoking a joint’

9/21/16--During a medical marijuana session at the Oswego Senior Center, Cat Stewart of Cresco Labs informed attendees that there are a lot of options for treatment. According to Stewart, a big part of the job now "is to educate and break down the fears and barriers people associate with cannabis that is preventing them from exploring other health care options." Read

Judge orders medical cannabis for post-op chronic pain

9/21/16--Cook County Judge Neil Cohen has ordered the Illinois Department of Public Health to add Post-Operative Chronic Pain to the list of disorders treatable with medical cannabis. Read