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Medical Marijuana: The Story Of One Patient, Grower, Manufacturer

Patients, growers, and business owners are waiting while Illinois continues the process of setting up its medical cannabis program. One northern Illinois native is in all three of those roles in Arizona, where medical marijuana has been legal for five years. 

Credit Elevated Care
Elevated Care
Logo for Jennifer Brdlik's company, Elevated Care.

Jennifer Brdlik is operations director for “Elevated Care” and “Aromatic Kitchens,”companies that produce cannabis-based foods and tinctures. She spoke with WNIJ’s Susan Stephens about why she got into the business and where she thinks it’s headed in Illinois.

Brdlik says one of the biggest challenges for companies that produce medicinal cannabis products is getting a consistent product: like any medication, it should work the same with every dose. A group of Arizona activists known as 420 Grannies has taken on the role of reviewer: they test and report on the quality of marijuana strains, products, and dispensaries.

Jennifer Brdlik discusses cannabis strains and the activist group "420 Grannies."

Five years of marijuana legalization is having an interesting effect on illegal drugs crossing the border from Mexico. Brdlik says American-made is becoming a standard of quality for medical marijuana products and demand is dropping for Mexican pot.

Jennifer Brdlik on medical marijuana's effect on the international drug trade.

Brdlik says medical marijuana can be an extremely lucrative business. She says more states are examining whether to move into the territory of recreational pot, which has been very successful in Colorado. A number of large companies are involved, and she sees this as a sign of things to come, with GMO pot and self-destructing seeds. But Brdlik sees opportunities for smaller businesses, too, like the role craft breweries play in today's beer industry.

WNIJ's Andrew Epstein assisted with this interview.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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