State Of Cannabis

There are several current and emerging markets in Illinois for cannabis-related products. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state, farmers are gearing up to grow industrial hemp, and lawmakers could consider a measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Whether or not recreational use becomes legal, the business of cannabis is already established in the Land of Lincoln and our reports are intended to bring you information related to these efforts.

"State of Cannabis" is a collaborative effort among public radio stations across Illinois.

Special thanks to participating stations in reporting and editing:

Illinois Newsroom, NPR Illinois, Tri-States Public Radio, WBEZ, WCBU, WDCB, WGLT, WILL, WNIJ, WSIU, WVIK

-Reporter Roundtable-- Why are we doing this series now? Features WGLT's Ryan Denham, WSIU/Illinois Newsroom's Steph Whiteside, WNIJ's Sarah Jesmer  

-From Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Rich Egger visited a medical marijuana cultivation facility in west central Illinois to get their perspective.

-From NPR Illinois in Springfield, Jaclyn Driscoll has been closely covering the issue. She sat down with Sean Crawford to give us an update on the legislative timeline of recreational marijuana.

-When Illinois issued the first licenses for medical marijuana businesses in 2015, almost all the recipients were white. We look at what a more racially diverse marketplace might look like if the state legalizes recreational use. From WBEZ in Chicago, Susie An reports.

-Existing rules around the Illinois medical cannabis program could make the rollout for recreational use a less daunting task. But there are plenty of unanswered questions at the federal level which could complicate the process. From WNIJ in DeKalb, Chase Cavanaugh reports.

-Northwestern Illinois’ Stephenson County is one area where changes in the status of cannabis are being embraced. The people doing it are not necessarily the ones you’d expect. From WNIJ in DeKalb, Guy Stephens has more.

-From WSIU and Illinois Newsroom in Carbondale, Steph Whiteside explains how some patients are considering marijuana as an alternative to opioids.

-From WCBU in Peoria, Tanya Koonce brings us the view from Peoria with a doctor who talks about how health providers are navigating conversations with patients who are considering marijuana use.

-In today’s legal market, there’s more than just your typical joint if you want to get high. There are cookies, gummies, weed-infused drinks and more... but how might these different products affect you? From NPR Illinois in Springfield, reporter Jaclyn Driscoll has more.

-The debate over legalization touches on so many thorny issues -- criminal justice reform, health care, and balancing a state budget coated in red ink. But it's also an economic issue.  From WGLT in Bloomington/Normal, Ryan Denham visits a small town in central Illinois where medical marijuana has brought new jobs, new tax revenue, and a hope for more.

-Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says she’s concerned about how legalization could impact the juveniles she works with on a daily basis. She’s also concerned about how the state will address cannabis impaired driving. Illinois Public Media’s Lee Gaines recently interviewed Rietz.

-Susan Stephens with WNIJ in DeKalb reports, attitudes are changing about cannabis use.

-With conversations about legalizing recreational marijuana, you also may have heard about CBD. This is a very different hemp product and it’s completely legal. Sarah Jesmer with WNIJ in DeKalb reports, those in the CBD market are trying to prepare for possible changes on the horizon. 

-Illinois Governor J.B.Pritzker wants legalize recreational marijuana to provide an economic boost for the state. At Rock Island’s Augustana College, students have different reasoning behind their perspective. Reporter Natalie Spahn from WVIK in Rock Island found out, many identify themselves in the "pro" category. 

-Reporter Roundtable #2 There may be more questions than answers as state leaders consider their next step. Features WGLT's Ryan Denham, WSIU/Illinois Newsroom's Steph Whiteside, WNIJ's Sarah Jesmer

RELATED: Marijuana Investor Gives $9 Million To Harvard And MIT For Cannabis Science (WBUR)

CBD Sellers Consider Role In Marijuana Debate

May 2, 2019
Logan Chase works the counter
Sarah Jesmer

Logan Chase wants his customers to know what they’re smoking.

“If I see something that I've never tried before,” he said, “I take it upon myself to try it.”

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.

Tiffany Scott, Rachel Pollock, Mursyidah Syahirah, and Travis Paquin
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

For decades, it was "marijuana" and conjured images of tie-dyed T-shirts and hemp hoodies. Now, it's "cannabis" and you're more likely to picture lab coats and business suits. Our series State of Cannabis continues with a look at the evolution of the public's attitudes. 

It’s Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day at Northern Illinois University, a day when students show off their hard work at the end of the semester.

Can Cannabis Help Patients Avoid Opioids?

May 1, 2019

WSIU and Illinois Newsroom reported this story as part of a weeklong series from public radio stations around the state focusing on the potential impact of marijuana legalization.

Since February, patients in Illinois have been able to swap their opioid prescriptions for marijuana. And many are doing just that.

They’re part of a program designed to let patients who might not qualify for the state’s regular medical marijuana program exchange an opioid prescription, like Oxycontin, for weed.

Cannabis Merges Into Health Care

May 1, 2019

We are taking a closer look at what the legalization of cannabis could mean for Illinois. The State of Cannabis is a collaborative reporting effort by public radio stations across the state. This piece in the series looks at the potential health care considerations of recreational marijuana.

Existing rules around the Illinois medical cannabis program could make the rollout for recreational use a less daunting task. But there are plenty of unanswered questions at the federal level which could complicate the process.

Northwestern Illinois’ Stephenson County is one area where changes in the status of cannabis are being embraced. The people doing it are not necessarily the ones you’d expect.

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

The O'Hern family in west central Illinois has long been involved in traditional farming. They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat, plus they raise cattle. In the last few years they have added another crop to their repertoire: medical marijuana.

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.