marijuana

Marijuana Dispensary Safety Measures

May 25, 2020
Sunnyside Dispensary

Marijuana dispensaries were deemed essential under the stay-at-home order earlier this year. Although dispensaries remained open, workers and customers have had to endure some changes. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation put guidelines in place to ensure dispensaries continue to be safe for everyone.

What To Know About Recreational Cannabis On Campus

Dec 11, 2019
Andrew Heiserman

On a recent Thursday, a small group of Northern Illinois University students took their seats at an open forum to discuss recreational cannabis. It will be legal in Illinois soon.

Administrators wanted to make one thing clear: marijuana will still be banned on NIU’s campus.

That’s mostly because of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.    

Sarah Jesmer

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois January 1, 2020. According to lawmakers, some communities have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis. The new law tries to help those people, should they be interested in getting into the legal cannabis industry.

Recreational Marijuana Is Now Legal In Illinois

Jun 25, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation making Illinois the 11th state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Democrat signed legislation Tuesday in Chicago allowing residents to purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents could have up to 15 grams.

Illinois joins 10 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing recreational use. It's been essentially illegal for the past 80 years and since 1970 has been federally banned as a narcotic.

flickr/dankdepot

Restrictions on home cultivation have helped marijuana legalization win Illinois Senate approval.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 38-17 Wednesday to allow recreational use of marijuana like 10 other states. The Illinois proposal allows those 21 and older to have up to one ounce.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their homes. Steans' final version allows only the 65,000 Illinois patients qualified for the medical-cannabis law to grow their own.

Jennifer Brdlik

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to legalize recreational marijuana to provide an economic boost for the state. At Rock Island’s Augustana College, students have different reasons behind their perspective, but as reporter Natalie Spahn found out, many identify themselves in the "pro" category.

More Questions Loom In The 'State Of Cannabis'

May 2, 2019
Susan Stephens

You've heard a series of reports on the potential expansion of Cannabis in Illinois.

For WNIJ reporter Sarah Jesmer, her reporting created more questions than answers.

In Illinois, Cannabis Is The Talk Of The Towns

Apr 29, 2019
Spencer Tritt

This week, public radio station across Illinois are tackling a once taboo topic.

Jennifer Brdlik / Elevated Care

Medical marijuana use is up more than 80% in Illinois, with PTSD as the most common condition treated, according to a report by the state Department of Public Health.

More than 46,000 people have used medical marijuana in Illinois this year, The Chicago Tribune reported. Almost 75% of patients are older than 40.

David Kovaluk/St. Louis Public Radio

Decriminalizing marijuana doesn’t necessarily lead to an increase in adolescent use, according to research from Washington University.

Marijuana possession is still illegal under decriminalization, but it is treated as a civil offense.

Rather than arresting a person for possessing small amounts of marijuana, an officer issues a citation similar to a traffic ticket. A Wash U analysis of U.S. states that decriminalized the drug found a steep drop in the number of marijuana-related arrests and no increase in reported adolescent drug use.

Carlos Manzano Photos / CC BY-SA 3.0

The push continues to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois. This time, support comes from a travel expert who wants to see the state adopt the European approach to cannabis.

Efforts to make Illinois to be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana are taking shape in Springfield.

The General Assembly decriminalized possession of small amounts of it last year. However, that measure was vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, but his veto was overridden. Rauner also hasn't allowed many proposed changes or expansions to the state's pilot medical cannabis program.

flickr/dankdepot

The head of the Colorado Department of Revenue has spoken to a panel of Illinois lawmakers considering a proposal to legalize marijuana in the state.

Barbara Brohl, the department executive director, told Illinois lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday that she believes the legal market for marijuana is eating into the black market, funding drug abuse treatment and prevention, and providing a safer product, the Chicago Tribune reports.

flickr user Brett Levin "LEGAL Colorado Marijuana Grow" (CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/1F0o4DW

Illinois' medical marijuana companies, operating in an industry abounding with rules, now have one less regulation they have to follow.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a federal judge ruled last week that a provision preventing cannabis companies from making campaign contributions in Illinois wasn't constitutional. The ruling was in response to a 2015 lawsuit filed by two Libertarian Party candidates who sought contributions from the medical marijuana industry.

Jennifer Brdlik

Democratic State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Heather Steans are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana.

Their measures would allow people 21 and older to possess up to 28 grams. It would also let facilities sell pot products.

Illinois currently allows medicinal uses of the drug for certain approved conditions.

Representative Cassidy says the state could rake in as much as $700 million a year from the sale of recreational marijuana; she says it’s critical to help chip away at Illinois’ massive budget deficit.

WNIJ

A Lake County man pled guilty in federal court in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

35-year-old Justin Paglusch of Ingleside was charged with intent to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants between Nov. 2014 and Jan. 2015 at the Asher Tool warehouse in Rockford.

Six other people were also charged for the crime.

The warehouse was destroyed by a fire in 2015.

Paglusch faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

Sentencing is set for June 23.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs wants the Trump administration to help protect the state’s medical marijuana industry.

Federal law currently forbids banks from processing money used for cannabis transactions.  This makes it difficult for these businesses to get loans and pushes customers to pay only with cash. 

The Obama administration said prosecuting banks for these violations wasn't a priority, and Frerichs wants the same assurances from Trump.  

Communities in Illinois are adopting their own penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana now that state law has eliminated the possibility of jail time.

The Tribune-Star reports that the law passed last year provides that people caught with 10 grams or less of the drug be issued citations carrying a fine of $100 to $200. Possession of such an amount was previously a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,500.

The new legislation allows local governments to set their own standards concerning the amount of marijuana and fines.

flickr/dankdepot

U.S. women are increasingly using pot during pregnancy, sometimes for morning sickness. That's according to an analysis of annual U.S. government drug surveys.

Though the actual numbers are small, researchers and others say the trend raises concerns because of evidence linking the drug with low birth weights and other problems.

In 2014, almost 4 percent of pregnant women said they'd recently used marijuana. That's up from 2.4 percent in 2002.  

The study was published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Illinois is one year into its four-year medical marijuana pilot project, and doctors' opinions are divided.  

Doctors' trade group, the Illinois State Medical Society, has no official stance on pot's medical benefits, or lack thereof. However, the Society's current president, Dr. Thomas Anderson, says the membership is split. 

"Because we have doctors within the organization who feel like it is a value drug in certain settings, we have doctors in the organization who feel like it's a useless substance that doesn't even belong on the shelf with other medications."

WUIS

DeKalb's City Council will consider revisions to its marijuana possession fines at a Committee of the Whole meeting tonight.  

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law in July that makes possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil penalty.  It comes with an associated fine of up to $200.   

By comparison, DeKalb charges a minimum of $350 for possessing less than 2.5 grams of cannabis.  The fine goes up to at least $750 if the issue is adjudicated in court.  

Where Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Program Stands

May 27, 2016

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is just getting started.  The first stores opened last fall and some 6,000 people are now approved to buy cannabis through the pilot program. That number is much smaller than what many advocates say is needed to create a viable business.  There are a number of factors behind the slower-than-expected rollout of a pilot program scheduled to expire in January 2018.

WUIS

  Republican Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon told a House committee Monday that he wants to warn users of serious potential side effect such as hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking.

Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program was sponsored by Democrat Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. Lang says he'd rather wait until the pilot program ends in 20-17 rather than pass piecemeal legislation.

"There may be an opportunity in the future to work on something like this. I just think it's ill-timed," he says.

Retail sales of medical marijuana in Illinois increased by roughly 30 percent in March compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says the state's registered dispensaries sold $1.9 million worth of marijuana in March to more than 4,700 patients. It was the best month yet in sales for the program.

Illinois now has 32 registered dispensaries where qualified patients can buy the drug. Three new dispensaries registered in March.

Wright says approximately 5,500 patients now qualify for the program.

Illinois lawmakers are again trying to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana but face strong opposition from law enforcement and anti-pot advocates.

The omnibus bill in the Senate also would set a standard for what's considered too high to drive.

Opponents of the legislation say there should be zero tolerance for using marijuana and driving and that decriminalizing pot sends the wrong message to youth.

The bill would make possessing 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense punishable by fines of up to $200.

Illinois Panel Pushes Proposal To Reduce Pot Penalties

Mar 10, 2016

An Illinois panel advanced a proposal that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    

People caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis would pay a maximum fine of 200 dollars.  

Brandon Nemec is with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He says it’s a more efficient use of law enforcement officers. 

Illinois medical marijuana shops had their best month yet in February with nearly $1.5 million in sales, bringing total retail sales to more than $4.4 million since the program began Nov. 9.

Program director Joseph Wright announced Tuesday that registered dispensaries served 3,042 unique patients during February. Two new dispensaries joined the program last month, raising the total to 29 shops as of Monday.

Wright says approximately 4,800 Illinois patients now qualify for the program.

flickr/dankdepot

A pair of Libertarian political candidates are suing the state of Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law prohibits campaign donations from companies that grow or dispense cannabis.

Benjamin Barr is a lawyer with the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He says he filed the lawsuit because his clients favor legalization of drugs and should be able to seek support from like-minded businesses.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is a step closer to legalizing marijuana use on its tribal lands in Wisconsin. 

No, marijuana is not legal to grow, use, or sell on Ho-Chunk lands…yet. But the Nation’s general council voted at a meeting in Madison, Wisconsin to reverse a ban on marijuana on tribal lands. 63% of the 1600 voting members wanted to overturn the anti-marijuana policy. The vote’s not binding: but now the tribe’s attorneys are looking into the legal implications.

WUIS

A marijuana advocacy group is urging Illinois lawmakers to accept Governor Bruce Rauner's changes to a marijuana decriminalization plan. 

In his amendatory veto, the Governor supported lowering penalties for possession of pot but he did tighten the amount someone could have to avoid a criminal charge.  

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana laws says it's still a move in the right direction.

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