A Changing Climate: The Future for Marijuana in Illinois

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Illinois is well into its second year of sales for medical marijuana and in that time, the state has decriminalized the drug and there have been serious talks of legalizing recreational weed.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Illinois since 2013, but it hasn’t always been and still isn’t, perceived in a positive way.

“You know there probably are some uses for it,” recovering addict Elizabeth Price said. “I think we could be creating addicts where we don’t need to. Marijuana has always been called the gateway drug and now we’re going to have doctors dispensing it. That’s how the heroin epidemic got so bad, is doctors were dispensing [opioids].”

It still remains illegal federally and with a change in administration, including potential signs of a crackdown from then U.S. Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions, it wasn’t always clear what was going to happen to states that crafted their own legislation.

“The U.S. Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state and distribution of it an illegal act, so if that’s something that’s not desired any longer, congress should pass a law to change the rule,” said Sessions during his confirmation hearing on January 10, 2017.

While dispensaries in Illinois weren’t necessarily worried of shut down, they are relieved the budget deal, that lasts until the end of September, protects them from federal prosecution.

“I definitely think there was some anxiety on what the Trump administration was going to do and what the new attorney general was going to do in terms of enforcement,” said Chris Stone with HCI Alternatives.

The climate continues to shift regarding cannabis. Illinois is well into its second year of sales for medical marijuana and in that time, the state has decriminalized the drug and there have been serious talks of legalizing recreational weed.

“It’s amazing to me that we’re even talking about the concept that recreational could be coming down the pipe in Illinois in the next four years,” Stone said.

According to a recent survey completed by Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, two-thirds of voters in Illinois support or strongly support legalization of recreational marijuana if it is taxed and regulated.

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Source: 420 Intel – United States

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