Illinois Medical Marijuana Growing Into Big Business


Illinois medical marijuana is on the cusp of expansion. It got a new fillip from the bill signed by Illinois State Gov. Bruce Rauner on July 29 that removed criminal penalties for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.

The Governor’s decree made Illinois the 21st state to decriminalize marijuana and also relaxed the norms for participating in the state medical cannabis program.

In July, two new medical conditions – post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness were added to the list of 40 conditions that qualify for medical marijuana help.

Illinois medical marijuana is noted for its secretive state-run cultivation centers such as the grow house at Cresco Labs. Authorized by the state, the centers produce medical cannabis under tight surveillance.

The state law also mandates independent labs to test samples of marijuana sold in the state to certify potency and freedom from contamination of pesticides.

On Wednesday, for the first time, media persons were allowed to these centers on a special tour to watch the medical cannabis-growing operations, reports Chicago Tribune.

The media tour was arranged by Jack Campbell, a former police officer and tried to take off the veil of mystery surrounding the pilot programs.

Federal Ban on Marijuana to Stay

Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration said on Thursday that marijuana will continue to remain a schedule l controlled substance in the US, and it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This puts the drug in the same category as heroin and cocaine, reports CNN.

So far, Illinois medical marijuana has been one of the most restrictive programs in the US with only 9,000 patients seeking the drug.

Charles Bachtell, founder, and CEO of Cresco Labs is upbeat on the growth prospects. He said there will be more than 100,000 patients in Illinois, comparable to Colorado’s medical cannabis population, once the pilot program enters the third year.

“The program is seeing significant growth and changed patients’ lives. There’s a great energy out there,” he claimed.

However, the program faces resistance from the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. They are not convinced and wanted more study and federal regulation over medical marijuana practices.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Illinois Medical Marijuana Growing Into Big Business
Author: Kalyan Kumar
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