chicago

Illinois: Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana For Adults

Illinois.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Identical legislation was introduced Wednesday to legalize and tax recreational marijuana for adults in Illinois by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353 would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis and would allow facilities to sell marijuana to adults over 21 years of age and tax those sales "in a manner similar to alcohol."

Steans said the taxes collected from marijuana sales would help solve the state budget recover.

"Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois' worsening budget problems. Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor's $5 billion budget gap," she said.

Steans pointed out that Oregon collected more than $60 million in new tax revenue from the sale of marijuana, and Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, collected more than $140 million in 2016 from legal marijuana sales.

Steans introduced legislation last year to decriminalize possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, which is now the law. Illinois began its medical marijuana program in 2013.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cheer Governor's About-Face On Expanding Program

BruceRaunerGOPGovernorIllinois[ChicagoNow].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's about-face on expanding the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program, saying it will allow time to show the program is working and help more suffering patients.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang on Friday announced an agreement with the Republican governor to extend the state's four-year medical marijuana pilot program to 2020, reports the Associated Press.

The program had been set to expire in 2018, but advocates said more time is needed because medicinal cannabis sales only began in November 2015.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Illinois Legislature, adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Governor Rauner had previously balked at adding any conditions, despite recommendations from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the board said she's "thrilled" that more patients will now benefit from the program.

Photo of Gov. Bruce Rauner: Chicago Now

Illinois: Bill Introduced To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

IllinoisStateOutlineFilledWithCannabis

Rep. Kelly Cassidy on Thursday announced that she is introducing new legislation for 2016 that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of a personal amount of marijuana in Illinois.

HB 4357 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine. Adults would no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record.

The proposal largely mirrors legislation previously introduced by Rep. Cassidy that was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23, as well the amendments proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner when he vetoed the bill and returned it to the legislature on August 14.

“This is a reasonable proposal that is long overdue,” Rep. Cassidy said. “It needs to happen, and I am hopeful that we can make it happen quickly since it’s already such familiar territory for legislators and the governor.”

Members of the Illinois faith community joined Rep. Cassidy at the news conference to voice support for the bill. More than 50 clergy from around the state have signed a Religious Declaration of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, which includes support for civil rather than criminal sanctions for marijuana possession.

Illinois: New Bill Announced To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana

IllinoisMarijuana[KTRS]

Rep. Kelly Cassidy will hold a Thursday news conference to announce that she will introduce new legislation for 2016 that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of a personal amount of marijuana in Illinois.

The news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT in the Blue Room of the James R. Thompson Center. Rep. Cassidy will be joined by Rev. Alexander Sharp of Clergy for a New Drug Policy and other members of the Illinois faith community who believe the state’s current criminal penalties for marijuana possession are causing harm to their communities.

The new proposal will include provisions Gov. Bruce Rauner and a majority of the members of the General Assembly agreed to earlier this year. It will largely mirror legislation previously introduced by Rep. Cassidy that was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23, as well the amendments proposed by the governor when he vetoed the bill and returned it to the legislature on August 14.

WHAT: News conference to announce the introduction of new legislation to remove criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession and replace them a civil fine

WHERE: James R. Thompson Center, Blue Room, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 11 a.m. CT

WHO: Rep. Kelly Cassidy
Rev. Alexander Sharp, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Members of the Illinois faith community

Graphic: KTRS

Illinois: Award-Winning Chicago Chef Launches Line Of Marijuana Edibles

MindySegal[PRNewswire]

Illinois medical marijuana patients will soon have a line of decadent chef-crafted products to choose from with the announcement of James Beard Award-Winning Chef Mindy Segal's new edible line. Segal, owner of Chicago's acclaimed Hot Chocolate Restaurant, is described as "the first high profile, award-winning celebrity chef to attach her personal brand to products in the cannabis industry."

Segal is partnering with Cresco Labs, Illinois largest cannabis cultivator, to produce the products. They plan for the line of infused products to be available for distribution beginning in late February with a variety of delicious and accurately dosed edibles.

Her initial products will include a line of chocolate brittle bars, a line of infused granola bites, an infused chocolate drink that is intended to be warmed to enhance the soothing effects, and a ready-made mix with do-it-yourself instructions.

"We've all heard the expression 'it tastes like medicine' but there's no reason it has to," Segal said. "With my recipes and Cresco's technology, we're developing this line of products to be consistent every time and absolutely enjoyable to eat."

Illinois: Senate Approves Bill To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

IllinoisMarijuana[KTRS]

Measure Will Be Sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner for His Signature

HB 218 replaces the threat of jail time and a criminal record with a civil penalty — a $125 fine, similar to a traffic ticket — for possession of a small amount of marijuana

The Illinois Senate on Thursday approved a bill 37-19 to remove criminal penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana. The measure, which was approved by the House of Representatives in April, will now be sent to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

HB 218, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) and in the House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), makes possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana a civil law violation punishable by a $125 fine. Individuals will no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense will be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record.

“Serious criminal penalties should be reserved for individuals who commit serious crimes,” Rep. Cassidy said. “The possibility of jail time should not even be on the table when it comes to simple marijuana possession. Criminalizing people for marijuana possession is not a good use of our state’s limited law enforcement resources.”

Illinois: Desktop Cannabis Potency Measurement System To Be Unveiled At Marijuana Business Expo

LuminarySageAnalytics

Sage Analytics, developers of portable laboratory quality cannabis potency measurement systems, on Wednesday announced that they will introduce their newest product, the Luminary™ Beacon, at the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, to be held in Chicago, May 19-21.

Unlike any other product on the market, according to Sage, "the Beacon provides instant, on-the-spot feedback, and is expected to be a vital tool toward standardization in cannabis potency profiling, and accuracy in consumer information and labeling."

"The Luminary™ Beacon is a small, portable desktop system that is simple to use in any location and requires little training to obtain on-site, instantaneous, laboratory-grade accurate measurement of THC, CBD, and CBN," the company's press release states. "Unlike gas chromatography (GC) or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the Luminary™ Beacon uses optical spectroscopy (light) to instantly measure the potency of cannabis products at the molecular level.

Spectroscopy offers a number of distinct advantages over alternative methods, according to Sage Analytics: It is portable and can be used virtually anywhere, it is easy to use and requires just minimal training to become proficient, requires no toxic chemicals for preparation or analysis, and it leaves the sample intact for future use.

Illinois: House Approves Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

DecriminalizeMarijuana!

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Illinois House on Thursday approved a decriminalization measure under which possession of small amounts of marijuana would result in a fine instead of arrest.

Minor cannabis possession would go from a crime with up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500 to become more like a traffic ticket, with no court time and a fine maxing out at $125, reports Jessie Hellmann at the Chicago Tribune.

House Bill 218 would apply to people caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana, just over half an ounce.

The legislation would create a uniform penalty throughout the state, and eliminate the option for police to arrest people carrying small amounts of cannabis, according to sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

"We currently have a patchwork of local ordinances where there is the possibility of getting a ticket but not a given that you'll get a ticket, so it's an open question where you go whether you're going to get arrested or get a ticket," Rep. Cassidy said.

"That creates a system whereby it depends on where you live, and what you look like, and unfortunately more often than not, it is folks who are black and brown who are being arrested, who are being pulled off the streets, pulled away from their jobs and their families and put into our jails and prisons," she said.

Illinois: CEO In Medical Marijuana Dispute With State Dies Unexpectedly

AndrewJames-PMRx

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The chief executive officer of a medical marijuana company fighting in court with the state of Illinois has died unexpectedly.

Andrew James, 51, on Thursday was found unresponsive at his home in Kenilworth, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun-Times. An autopsy was inconclusive, the office said on Friday; officials are waiting for more test results.

James, an attorney, was the CEO of PM Rx, a company which had applied for a medical marijuana farming permit in the Kankakee area. When the company lost on its bid, it sued, accusing Illinois of failing to follow its own licensing guidelines when ranking applications for the coveted growing permits, which represent a potentially lucrative source of income.

The closely watched case has resulted in a temporary restraining order preventing the state and permit winner Cresco Labs from going ahead with plans to plant cannabis.

James "was firmly convinced the process was profoundly flawed," said his friend John Stephens, an attorney with Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, who first hired James as an intern in 1988.

Illinois Considers Expanding Disease List For Medical Marijuana Program

IllinoisMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois residents have petitioned the state to add more than 20 medical conditions to the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical marijuana program. Among the conditions requested to be added are anxiety, migraines, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Petitioners identifying themselves as combat veterans of Vietnam and Iraq asked that PTSD be included, according to 269 pages of petitions obtained by Carla K. Johnson at The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act. The state redacted the names of petitioners before releasing the documents, to protect patients' privacy.

“I am a Vietnam Vet and can only imagine how things would have been,” wrote one PTSD petitioner. “While visiting in Colorado I had the benefit of trying cannabis in candy form…. and I felt wonderful. No thoughts of violence, self-deprecation, or hopelessness. My life would be different today.”

Illinois law lists cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS as qualifying conditions for cannabis, but is more restrictive than most other medical marijuana states. The Illinois Department of Health must approve any additions to the list.

An advisory board of doctors, patients, nurses and a pharmacist is looking over the petitions, and will make a recommendation after a public hearing on May 4. People can submit petitions twice each year, in January and July.

Illinois: Chicago Police Used Marijuana To Disappear Young People

Exposed!HomanSquareChicago

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marc Freeman disappeared inside Chicago's Homan Square police warehouse for hours last year, but you wouldn't know that from his arrest report. His time in custody wasn't logged on the books until he appeared at another police station, seven hours after his arrest -- and his case isn't unique.

Chicago Police arrested Freeman at 3:35 p.m. on October 22, 2014, for possession of about two pounds of cannabis, report Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford at The Guardian. The police report states that Freeman was "transported to Homan for further processing," but it specifies nothing about his time at the secretive police compound, other than an official arrival time at 4:10 p.m., then a note that he arrived at nearby District 11 lockup at 10:32 p.m.

Freeman was lost to the outside world during the intervening hours, denied any phone calls, attorney visits or records of where he was by the police who held him captive. Shackled inside Homan Square, Freeman was neither booked nor processed at the secretive facility some have compared to the domestic equivalent of a CIA "black site."

Illinois: 'Freakonomics' Author To Keynote Marijuana Business Conference In Chicago

StevenLevittFreakonomics(TheExiled)

Bestselling author Steven Levitt is scheduled to keynote Marijuana Business Daily's Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, to be held at the Chicago Hilton May 19-21.

Levitt's book, Freakonomics, spent eight years on the New York Times bestseller list, selling more than five million copies.

A tenured economics professor at the University of Chicago, Levitt believes in order to fix or change the world, you first have to understand it. He sifts through data for revelations that help everyone from banks to professional athletes see new connections and opportunities.

Now, Levitt is applying his enormous curiosity to the future of the legal cannabis industry.

More than 2,000 marijuana entrepreneurs and major investors are expected to attend Levitt's keynote at the Spring show.

Registration:
Spring 2015 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo

Photo: The Exiled

Illinois: Chicago Hospital Wants To Sell Medical Marijuana, But Stymied By Federal Law

Illinois-RameshPatelSwedishCovenantHospital(Chicago)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If officials at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital get their wish, authorized medical marijuana patients could one day buy their cannabis at a hospital dispensary, just like patients buying antibiotics or pain relievers at the hospital's pharmacy.

"We have professionals who very much would like to prescribe these drugs, we have the system in place to manage it and we have the patient population that needs it," said Marcia Jimenez, director of intergovernmental affairs at Swedish Covenant Hospital, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun Times. "It just made a lot of sense."

The hospital would like to be the first in Illinois to take advantage of the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state. Illinois has agreed to issue 60 permits to sell medical marijuana, 13 of which will be in Chicago.

Swedish Covenant would really like one of those, but is hamstrung by federal law, under which marijuana is illegal for any purpose, classified as a dangerous Schedule I controlled substance with no medical uses.

"If the hospital were to become a dispensary at this point, we would be violating the federal law and jeopardizing reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid, Jimenez said. Hospital administrators are also worried they could be targeted for "criminal activity" and get in tax trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Now Legal - But Where Are The Authorizing Physicians?

DoctorSignsMMJAuthorization

Now that medical marijuana has come to Illinois, how can qualified patients get authorized to legally use it? That can be a problem when physicians willing to certify patients for the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program are problematically scarce, according to a new study.

In a week-long study conducted by De Paul University students, 294 physician offices were contacted from a list provided on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's physician profile search, and asked whether or not their practitioners would be certifying patients for the medical use of marijuana in Illinois.

The offices ranged from small family practices with only one physician, to large hospitals with hundreds of physicians practicing in one field. The offices were located throughout Illinois including the counties: Cook, Kane, Will, DuPage, Kankakee, Peoria, Sangamon, Winnebago, McHenry, Effingham, Marion, Kendall and Union.

Half of the physicians contacted were primary care physicians, while half were specialists in the fields of gastroenterology, ophthalmology, oncology, neurology, pain management, infectious disease and rheumatology.

Despite the broad variety of physicians contacted as part of the study, the results yielded an overwhelming answer of "NO" to patients seeking medical marijuana recommendations.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Could Be Available To Patients In Early 2015

IllinoisHeadlines

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Illinois who qualify under the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program could be able to start legally using marijuana early next year, according to program coordinator Bob Morgan, who is a lawyer for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"Right now, we think it's a good time for patients to be having that conversation with their physicians and their caregivers if they have any interest in participating in the program," Morgan said.

The powerful Joint Committee on Administrative Rules plan to meet in Chicago on Tuesday to discuss the rules to implement the state's medical marijuana program, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun-Times.

If the committee agrees on the rules, the process to register patients, dispensers and growers can begin.

Patients who are approved by the state as having debilitating medical conditions qualifying for medical marijuana will be able to get identification cards beginning in September, according to Morgan, but the application process will be staggered.

Applications for those who want to sell or grow marijuana will be out around the same time, Morgan said.

Illinois: Chicago Police Still Making Marijuana Arrests, Despite New Law

ChicagoPoliceApprehendsMarijuanaPlant

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Surprise, surprise: Give cops the option to bust you, or not, for pot, and they will still bust you. Chicago police continue to arrest almost all people caught with small amounts of marijuana -- despite a city ordinance that allows them to write tickets and avoid the arrest, according to a new study.

When the ordinance was first passed in 2012, supporters -- including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy -- claimed it would enable officers to issue tickets and stay on the street, rather than go through the time-consuming process of hauling pot offenders to jail.

But apparently the police enjoy that process -- or else, they really dislike marijuana users.

About 93 percent of misdemeanor marijuana possession cases resulted in arrests by the Chicago Police Department in 2013, the first full year the decrim ordinance was in effect after being passed in 2012, according to the study from Roosevelt University's Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, reports the Associated Press.

Kentucky: Italian Hemp Seeds Facing One Final Hurdle Before Being Planted

HempSeeds

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A shipment of Italian hemp seeds has made it safely to Kentucky, where the law was recently changed to allow the growing of industrial hemp for university research projects, but federal customs officials in Louisville have so far refused to release the 250 pounds of seeds to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

The confusion is keeping the hemp seeds from getting to research project locations in the state, according to Kentucky officials, reports Kevin Willis at WKY Public Radio.

"I spoke with a Customs official in Chicago, and once I advised her of what the law is, and what we're doing at the Department of Agriculture, Customs in Chicago released the seeds to Louisville, and now it's just a question of getting everyone on the same page," said Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff at the Kentucky Agriculture Department.

VonLuehrte said she believes Customs officials will release the hemp seeds within "the next 24 hours."

The shipment of seeds from Italy is meant to supply three pilot hemp research projects in the Bluegrass State. VonLuehrte said the Department of Agriculture already has a prior shipment of hemp seeds ready to plant next Friday in Rockcastle County, home to a pilot hemp project being conducted by Kentucky State University.

Illinois: Elected Officials Say It's Time To Legalize Marijuana

ILMedicalCannabis(HT)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of elected officials at a Monday press conference in downtown Chicago said it's time to legalize marijuana in Illinois.

Four Democrats from the Chicago area held the media event at the Cook County building, calling for the state to immediately decriminalize marijuana, and eventually to legalize its recreational use by adults, reports Brian Slodysko at the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The main difference between the War on Drugs and Prohibition is that, after 40 years, this country still hasn't acknowledged that the War on Drugs is a failure," said Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey.

Chicago-area state representatives Mike Zalewski, Kelly Cassidy and Christian Mitchell appeared at the press conference along with Fritchey.

Illinois law has already changed to allow the medicinal use of cannabis with a doctor's authorization; the state still drafting the rules for its medical marijuana program, described as one of the strictest in the nation.

Backers of the legalization effort cite statistics showing that marijuana prohibition targets racial minorities, because whites are not arrested at the same rates for the same crime.

"Marijuana usage among racial categories is essentially the same," Fritchey said. "The disparity in Chicago and Cook County is overwhelmingly disproportionate toward African-Americans and Latinos being arrested for simple possession."

U.S.: Marijuana Use Changes The Brain, New Study Says

MarijuanaLeafBrain

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Young adults who smoke marijuana occasionally show changes in two key areas of their brains related to emotion, motivation and decision making, with the degree of changes related to the amount of cannabis used per week, according to a new study by researchers in Boston. Other scientists quickly pointed out that the research was partially sponsored by the federal agency charged with keeping marijuana illegal.

The study is believed to be the first which indicates such changes in the the brains of young, casual marijuana users, reports Kay Lazar at The Boston Globe.

The scientists did not study whether the brain changes were related to any declines in brain function. Any speculation by the scientists themselves, therefore, or especially by journalists who sensationalize the findings, about declines in cognition or functionality is therefore completely unsupported by any evidence.

But the scientists, unfortunately including lead author Jodi Gilman, did exactly that.

Illinois: Poll Shows More Than 60% Support Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

IllinoisHeadlines

Supporters call on members of the House of Representatives to pass bills approved last week by the House Restorative Justice Committee that would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois with a non-criminal fine

Panel discussion on collateral sanctions of marijuana arrests to take place Friday at Roosevelt University

Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois on Thursday released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows 63 percent of Illinois voters support making possession of an ounce of marijuana a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. Only 27 percent oppose the proposal.

The poll found majority support across all reported genders, races, and political party affiliations. The survey, which polled 769 Illinois voters from March 28-30, is available at http://www.mpp.org/ILpoll.

Syndicate content