Illinois Pot Shop Operators React to Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Law

illinois cannabis

Illinois cannabis law is designed to protect young people from criminal consequences related to the use and sale of cannabis, also known as cannabis or marijuana. Illinois became the eleventh state in the U.S. to legally legalize recreational cannabis on January 1st, 2021. A new provision has been added by the Cook County State’s judicial administration to protect anyone who might be arrested under Illinois laws from the unjustified application of federal criminal law to their use and/or sale of cannabis. This is a very exciting development in an industry that continues to experience rapid growth.

An Overview

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Illinois is divided into seven counties: Cook, Madison, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon, DeWitt, and Will. Within each of these Cook County States, there are also a number of municipal government agencies that have their own cannabis dispensaries. In addition to the state and county governments, there are two private medical cannabis dispensers located in Chicago. The Illinois State Police has stated that they will not interfere with the rights of individuals to publicly access and use cannabis. However, anyone violating Illinois cannabis laws may be arrested and prosecuted under federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act and the Manufacturing Frauds Act.

Although Illinois has taken the step forward in protecting its citizens from federal prosecution and intrusion, police authorities throughout the state continue to aggressively target medical cannabis consumers and retailers. Many of the arrests in Chicago relate to retail marijuana sales within the closed down retail shops and clinics. It is important to remember that recreational cannabis users are still subject to arrest and prosecution under federal criminal law, even if they are accessing their medicine through a valid medical marijuana treatment program.

Illinois Pot Shop And Medical Marijuana Law

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Two weeks ago, I wrote an article describing how the Illinois State Police had targeted two well-known cannabis advocacy groups, the Marijuana Clinic in Chicago and the Chicago Women’s Health Renaissance Project. In that article I described how the two organizations were routinely harassed by law enforcement. It should be noted that the harassment campaign was initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Ferriacco. The raids on both clinics were part of the broader “knock and knock” investigation targeting recreational cannabis users and retailers. One week later, the raids have come to an end.

This is good news for medical patients and consumers in Illinois who have been affected by raids like the one the Women’s Health Renaissance Project encountered. As reported by the Associated Press, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it would not charge the owners or operators of the clinics involved in the investigation. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberty Union of Illinois and five members from the Cook County Jail. According to the lawsuit, the arresting officers falsely accused the clinics of operating an unlawful drug business. The lawsuit further claimed that the police conducted no investigation of the true facts behind the claims that the operation of the clinics violates Illinois drug statutes.

Illinois Compulmorality Law allows pharmacies to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of eighteen. However, medical cannabis clinics are only allowed to perform the following three actions based on the Illinois Compulmorality Law: provide instruction to patients about the medicinal benefits of cannabis; allow patients to consume marijuana; and maintain a premises where patients can consume or receive marijuana. In a letter to the state’s attorneys general, the Women’s Health Collective and the Illinois Nurses Association expressed their strong opposition to the state’s decision not to allow pharmacies to sell cannabis. They also called on the government to immediately halt all raids on medical marijuana clinics.

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