chicago sun-times

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: 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.

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."

Illinois: Proposed Rule Nixed; Would Have Barred Medical Marijuana Patients From Having Guns

IllinoisMedicalMarijuanaGunOwners

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A proposed rule that would have barred medical marijuana patients from getting Firearm Owner's Identification cards has been nixed.

State officials had posted preliminary rules for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program that barred medicinal cannabis patients or their caregivers from obtaining a FOID card if they were part of the program, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun-Times.

That provision has now been removed from rules that will be officially filed for review later this week, according to the Sun-Times. It was not immediately known if the same provision about Concealed Carry Weapons Permits had also been removed from the rules.

"I'm happy to see that they have changed the provision," said Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who sponsored the medical marijuana legislation and sits on the committee that will vote on the official rules. "I did ask them to remove it. I'm not the only one who did."

Both patients and caregivers would have been required to certify their understanding of the conflict between gun ownership and medical marijuana use, reports Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press.

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