Illinois: Medical Marijuana Draws Big Money Interest


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn this month signed into a law a bill allowing for a temporary, for-profit medical marijuana industry in the state, allowing cannabis sales to patients who qualify with certain medical conditions and are authorized by their physicians, starting in 2014.

And while the risks of investing in the nascent medicinal cannabis industry are still large -- chiefly including the possibility of the federal government shutting things down -- plenty of investors are willing to cough up hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars to get a chance at serving the new market, reports Peter Frost at the Chicago Tribune.

More than 200 people attended a Saturday event in the Chicago area, paying up to $375 apiece to hear about the medical marijuana business and to rub elbows with business leaders from California, Colorado and Michigan. Another event on Thursday at another downtown hotel drew more than 50.

"I've talked to several potential investors here thinking home-run dollars from the beginning," said Michael Mayes of Chicago, CEO of marijuana consulting and technology firm Quantum 9. "But, here at least, if you're swinging for the fences, you have to know you might strike out."

Mayes also operates two cannabis cultivation centers and three dispensaries in Colorado.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Industry Experts Hosting Chicago Educational Event


Professionals from around the nation featured at day-long event to educate investors and entrepreneurs in Illinois’ emerging medical industry

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will host the Midwest CannaBusiness Symposium on August 24 in Chicago to prepare investors and entrepreneurs for Illinois’ emerging medical cannabis industry.

Earlier this month, Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 1 and created a framework for the licensure of as many as 22 cultivation facilities and 60 dispensing organizations to provide medical marijuana to qualifying patients.

The symposium will bring cannabis business professionals from around the country to provide insight to Illinois’ prospective medical marijuana investors and entrepreneurs, setting the stage for a responsible, sustainable, and effective medical marijuana industry.

The day-long educational program will present investors and entrepreneurs interested in Illinois’ medical cannabis market with a unique opportunity to glean information from cannabis business professionals and experts in the fields of regulatory models, operations and ancillary businesses and features individual and panel presentations, question and answer periods, and an evening networking reception.

“Illinois joins 15 other states in not only allowing the choice of medical cannabis for those patients who need it, but also ensuring it is provided in the safest, most accountable manner possible: from licensed, taxed, and regulated businesses,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Illinois: First Medical Marijuana Clinic Opens - It's Not A Dispensary


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Less than a week after Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 1, a measure legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois, he first medical marijuana clinic in the state has opened in the Chicago area. But the Good Intentions LLC, in Wicker Park, isn't a dispensary; patients can't actually get medical marijuana there.

The clinic, owned by former registered nurse Tammy Jacobi, who ran a similar clinic in Saugatuck, Michigan, opened for the purpose of providing medical marijuana authorizations from physicians for patients who need them, reports Pauli Mayfield at WQAD.

Good Intentions accepted its first patients at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, reports The Huffington Post. By mid-morning, more than 30 patients had already visited, reports DNAinfo Chicago.

Patients paid a nonrefundable $99 registration fee by cash or check only; Good Intentions does not accept insurance. A doctor will review applications and call applicants back within six to eight weeks, according to Good Intentions spokesman Daniel Reid, reports Alisa Hauser at DNAinfo Chicago.

Illinois: Implementing New Medical Marijuana Law Will Take Time


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois on August 1 became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana when Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 1. But the measure -- with some of the strictest rules in the nation -- will take months to set into motion because of complex rules and regulations.

Estimates are that medical marijuana won't be available for purchase in Illinois for from several months to a year after the law takes effect on January 1, 2014, reports Sophia Tareen at The Associated Press.

Three separate state agencies -- the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation -- will be required to draft sets of rules for patients, growers and dispensaries. The rules must then be approved by a committee from the Legislature.

After that, permits will be issued, and 22 "cultivation centers" will be set up in each Illinois State Police district; state officials will review security plans. The cannabis will be sold in up to 60 dispensaries.

Only patients who have serious illnesses and have a long-term relationship with a doctor will be able to apply for an Illinois medical marijuana card. The new law lists dozens of qualifying illnesses, including lupus, HIV, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis. Patients will be allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks; no one under 18 will be eligible.

Illinois: Midwest Cannabusiness Symposium Scheduled For Aug. 24


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), a trade association representing state-legal cannabis businesses, will host the Midwest CannaBusiness Symposium on August 24 in Chicago. The Symposium will bring cannabis business professionals from around the country to provide insight to Illinois’ prospective medical marijuana investors and entrepreneurs, setting the stage for a responsible, sustainable, and effective medical marijuana industry.

NCIA is celebrating Illinois' advancement in medical marijuana policy with the upcoming symposium, featuring bill sponsor Illinois Rep. Lou Lang, Harborside Health Center's Steve DeAngelo, and 15 leaders in marijuana business with decades of combined experience.

Governor Pat Quinn on Thursday signed Illinois House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, making Illinois the 20th state with a medical marijuana program and the 15th to allow regulated, state-legal medical marijuana providers.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Lou Lang (D – Skokie), creates a framework for the licensure of as many as 22 cultivation facilities and 60 dispensing organizations to provide medical marijuana to qualifying patients. Extensive security, license qualification, inventory, and auditing requirements will ensure that medical cannabis produced and sold within the regulated market will be closely controlled and the individuals responsible for it will be held to high standards.

Minnesota: Adoption of Medical Marijuana in Illinois Galvanizes Support For MN Proposal


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Minnesota legislators, advocates, and medical marijuana patients are applauding Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who on Thursday signed a bill into law making Illinois the 20th state in the nation to allow residents with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a similar bill into law last week.

Adoption of the medical marijuana laws in Illinois and New Hampshire, both of which received bipartisan support, has galvanized support for a Minnesota medical marijuana bill that was introduced in May.

“A growing number of states recognize the benefits of medical marijuana in the treatment of debilitating conditions,” said Minnesota Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar), a sponsor of the proposal. “Minnesota should not be the last to follow. It should be the next.”

The bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives (HF 1515) by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) and in the Senate (SF 1641) by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). It has the maximum number of sponsors allowed – 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs, and five in the Senate, including two committee chairs. The Legislature will consider the measure when it reconvenes in February.

“Seriously ill Minnesotans and their families should not have to pack up and move to neighboring states in order to improve the quality of their lives,” said Rep. Melin. “Our state is better than that, and we can prove it by adopting a sensible medical marijuana policy.”

Illinois: Governor To Sign Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana Today


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been a long time coming, and a hard fight. Medical marijuana advocates have made it to the one-yard-line several times, only to be turned back. But today, August 1, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. local time, Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill which legalizes medical marijuana in Illinois.

Democratic Gov. Quinn signed the bill in a ceremony at the University of Chicago, reports Ray Long at the Chicago Tribune. The four-year trial program will be the strictest medicinal cannabis law in the nation, according to supporters.

Under the law, medical marijuana can be authorized for patients with nausea from cancer treatment, with multiple sclerosis, and with AIDS.

Quinn's signature will make Illinois the 20th state (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized cannabis for medicinal uses, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

For years, the medical marijuana bill had fallen short at the Capitol, especially in the House. But this spring, the tireless Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) was able to get together the votes needed to send the bill to the Illinois Senate, where a similar, but less restrictive, bill had passed in previous years.

Illinois: Guy Busted For Pot In Drug Rehab


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Gotta give the guy points for panache.

An Illinois man on Wednesday was charged with possession of marijuana after an employee at a drug rehabilitation center smelled pot in the man's room.

Lavelle Peete, 51, of the 900 block of East Lake Street, Aurora, allegedly admitted having the marijuana stashed inside an unused electrical outlet at the rehab facility in the 1600 block of North Farnsworth Avenue, police said, reports The Beacon-News.

Police reportedly took Peete into custody at 4:20 p.m.

Illinois: Governor's Decision Looming On Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seriously ill patients in Illinois might be able to use medical marijuana in less than two weeks, if the hopes of supporters come true and Governor Pat Quinn signs a bill legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.

Improving the lives of the chronically ill is how supporters convinced Illinois lawmakers to approve medical marijuana, reports Dorothy Tucker at CBS 2.

Multiple sclerosis patient Julie Falco said she was "ready to commit suicide" to escape the debilitating effects of her illness, until she discovered cookies made with marijuana.

"Not only did it help with my muscle spasticity, leg spasticity, my numbness and tingling, the pain... it saved my life," Falco said.

But unsurprisingly, opponents -- like Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel -- have objections, including concerns about patients who drive.

"Their reactions are slow," Chief Weitzel claimed. "It could either just cause erratic driving or in some cases they may be involved in auto accidents."

The science doesn't back up Weitzel's claims. A study looking at 16 states where medical marijuana is legal found traffic deaths dropped an average of nine percent. Researchers also looked at the impact on teenage pot use, and found that 11 states saw fewer teens smoking marijuana after legalizing medical cannabis.

Illinois: Veterans Seen As Key To Medical Marijuana Lobbying Efforts


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pleas from veterans who have serious illnesses and from their families have been at the center of the effort to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn, who has placed veterans' issues at the top of his agenda, now must decide whether to sign a medical marijuana law approved by both houses of the Legislature.

Gov. Quinn has mentioned hearing compelling stories of sick patients, including a veteran, who have been aided by cannabis, reports Sophia Tareen of The Associated Press. And as he decides whether to sign the measure, those personal stories could make a difference.

But Quinn is facing the start of what could be a bruising reelection campaign, and has only said, so far, that he is "open minded" to medical marijuana.

Some law enforcement officials, predictably, oppose the measure. It would allow seriously ill patients who have a doctor's authorization to use pot.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association have called on Gov. Quinn to veto the measure, claiming it would create additional dangers for motorists. (They must not have seen the study which shows fatal auto accidents decrease in states which have legalized medicinal cannabis.)

Illinois: Chicago Crime Commission Asks Governor To Veto Medical Marijuana Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn should veto medical marijuana legislation approved by the Illinois General Assembly earlier this year -- that is, if you believe the Chicago Crime Commission.

The commission said this week that legalizing medicinal cannabis would "present serious public safety risks to the citizens of the state." Members of the commission apparently haven't bothered to read recent studies showing rates of both fatal automobile crashes and suicides fall in states which have legalized medical marijuana.

Gov. Quinn has said he is "open minded" on medical marijuana, but hasn't committed to sign the legislation.

Crime Commission executive director Joe Ways claimed he amount of medical marijuana patients would be allowed to have would be too high, despite the fact that it is far less than the amount allowed in states such as Washington, Oregon and California.

"Allowing each card holder 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks will provide a surplus of marijuana that will undoubtedly find its way into the wrong hands and have significant law enforcement implications," Ways claimed.

Illinois: Senate Approves Medical Cannabis Bill, Governor Urged to Sign Into Law

Illinois Seal

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Yesterday, the Illinois Senate voted 35-21 in favor of an historic bill that would allow people with certain ailments to use cannabis to ease their symptoms, if recommended by their doctor.

The bill, HB 1, which would allow Illinois residents with qualifying conditions the right to obtain 2.5 ounces every two weeks from a licensed dispensary, is expected to be signed by an "open-minded" Governor Quinn.

"We are embarking here on a way to achieve relief, compassionate relief, consistent with the law (with) a system which avoids abuse," according to the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bill Haine of Alton. "It's the tightest, most controlled legislative initiative in the United State related to medical cannabis."

"This is about individuals that are having a difficult time finding solutions to their cancer pains, that are finding other solutions and are going to the black market buying it anyway. We must find these solutions," Senator William Delgado, 2nd Legislative District (D), proclaimed on the Senate floor.

Proponents say cannabis can relieve continual pain without detrimental side effects of other pharmaceutical drugs.

Petition President Obama: Let American Farmers Grow Hemp

Naturalized Hemp 1975

Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture

By D. Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director

Hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet. According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, "Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois," about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:

1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.

* When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
* 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.

These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.

In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.

2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.

Illinois: Lieutenant Governor Supports Medical Marijuana Bill

(Graphic: The Daily Chronic)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon on Sunday said she supports a bill allowing the medicinal use of cannabis, explaining that testimony from seriously ill veterans and other medical marijuana patients helped to change her mind.

"As a former prosecutor my first reaction was, 'I'm not interested in changing our laws on medical marijuana,' " Lt. Gov. Simon told The Associated Press in a Sunday interview.

But after hearing from patients and reading up on the bill -- described as the strictest in the nation among medical marijuana states -- Simon said she is convinced the regulations are stringent enough.

The bill, which has cleared the Illinois House and awaits a Senate vote, would let physicians authorize patients with whom they have "an existing relationship" to use medicinal marijuana for more than 30 medical conditions, including cancer.

(Photo: pilot program would be created; patients and caregivers would be required to undergo background checks and would be limited to 2.5 ounces per patient per purchase from state-regulated dispensaries.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate Committee Vote

(Graphic: The Daily Chronic)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in Illinois cleared a key Senate committee vote on Wednesday.

The medical marijuana bill was approved on a 10-5 vote by the Senate Executive Committee late Wednesday night, reports Monique Garcia at the Chicago Tribune.

The bill was approved over the objections of members of the law enforcement community, who claimed the bill wouldn't prevent medical marijuana patients from driving while under the influence of cannabis. (Statistics from states where medical marijuana is legal has shown they have fewer fatal auto accidents than before medicinal cannabis laws were passed.)

The bill now goes to the full Senate, which approved similar legislation in 2009. The proposal already cleared the Illinois House last month, and Gov. Pat Quinn has said he is "open minded" on the subject.

Illinois: Police Groups Claim Medical Marijuana Bill's DUI Tests Aren't Strict Enough

(Graphic: Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two major law enforcement organizations in Illinois claim that DUI rules in a pending medical marijuana bill are not strict enough.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association on Wednesday sent a letter to Governor Pat Quinn and other state officials asking for tougher marijuana DUI safeguards, reportes The Associated Press.

The letter didn't mention the rather pertinent fact that according to one major study, states that have legalized medical marijuana see fewer fatal car accidents.

Medical marijuana laws were not significantly linked with changes in daytime crash rates, or those that didn't involve alcohol, according to the study.

Illinois' medical marijuana bill is scheduled for a Senate hearing on Wednesday. The idea has won approval in the Senate in past years, but police opposition could be a hurdle for this year's bill.


Illinois: Senate Committee To Hold Hearing Wednesday On Medical Marijuana Bill

Photo - Illinois: Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In LegislatureReligious leader, former narcotics officer, and physician scheduled to testify in support of House-approved measure that would allow people with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 3 p.m. on a bill that would allow residents with serious illnesses, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to access and use medical marijuana if their physicians recommend it. If approved, the measure will be considered by the full Senate. It received approval from the full House of Representatives on April 17.

Rev. Alexander Sharp, executive director emeritus of Protestants for the Common Good; former narcotics police officer Karen Stone of Glenarm; Dr. David Walters of Mt. Vernon; and a Somonauk-based military veteran with advanced multiple sclerosis are scheduled to testify in support of House Bill 1, which is sponsored in the Senate by former state’s attorney Sen. William Haine (D-Alton).

The measure has been endorsed by the Illinois Nurses Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, and since last month, more than 265 doctors from across the state have signed on to a statement in support of safe access to medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.

Illinois: Nearly 250 Physicians Across State Endorse Medical Marijuana

Photo - Illinois: Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In LegislatureBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of doctors on Tuesday at a news conference announced the support of nearly 250 Illinois physicians for allowing patients with serious illnesses to get and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

"For many patients, the treatment can sometimes be worse than the disease," said Dr. Margaret Millar of Moline, one of the endorsing physicians. "Having seen the devastating, and all-too-often lethal tollthat legally prescribed narcotics can take, I support medical marijuana as a safer, milder treatment that carries no risk of fatal overdose."

The doctors specifically signed on the following statement:

"Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial."

The Illinois House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on House Bill 1, which would make Illinois the 19th state the allow patients with certain conditions, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians.

It would also establish a network of state-regulated cultivation centers and dispensaries to provide marijuana to qualified patients.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In Legislature

Photo - Illinois: Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In LegislatureBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill to allow Illinois residents to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their debilitating medical conditions moved one step closer to becoming law on Wednesday when it was approved 11-4 by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now heads to the full 118-member House of Representatives.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), a friend to medical marijuana patients for years, would allow people suffering from specific medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS to use medicinal cannabis if their doctors recommend it.

Qualified patients would be able to get marijuana from one of up to 60 dispensaries, which would acquire the cannabis from up to 22 cultivation centers. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and Department of Financial & Professional Regulation would control the cultivation, acquisition, and distribution of marijuana.

Illinois: Man Gets 24 Years For Marijuana

Source: THC FinderBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Texas man who was caught with 73 pounds of marijuana in Douglas County, Illinois, three years ago was sentenced last week to 24 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

A jury had convicted Antonio Sustaita, 39, of Beeville, Texas, of marijuana trafficking, possession with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana after the cannabis was found in the pickup truck in which he was a passenger, reports the East Central Illinois News Gazette.

The truck was stopped on I-57 north of Arcola by Illinois State Police on February 4, 2010, because it had a cracked windshield "and an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror." (Did you know they could list an air freshener as "probable cause"?)

A drug dog alerted on odors coming from the back of the truck, and the cops searched it, finding that the gas tank had been modified and held 42 bricks of cannabis.

In addition to the 24-year prison sentence, Judge Mike Carroll ordered Sustaita to pay a street value fine of $60,000 and a $3,000 mandatory assessment.

Because of the amount of marijuana involved, Sustaita could have gotten up to 60 years in prison.

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