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Another step forward on medical marijuana

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014

* Sun-Times

On Tuesday, lawmakers who make up the obscure but powerful Joint Committee on Administrative Rules had no objections to the rules that will be used to implement the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

That means the medical marijuana program in Illinois can officially be put to use, and the process to begin registering patients, dispensers and growers can begin.

* But there’s a catch. More than one, actually. Oh, well There’s always a catch in Illinois

State regulators must choose which businesses will get licenses to grow and sell pot, and must set up a laboratory and procedures to test the drug for safety. And then there’s the matter of figuring out how to start growing a crop that has been illegal for decades.

Bryan Willmer, an owner of Grand Prairie Farms in Frankfort who hopes to open a dispensary and cultivation centers in Will, Kankakee and Champaign counties, said entrepreneurs are hoping state officials will specify how to get seeds.

“I guess they should fall from the sky,” he joked.

State officials said Tuesday they will try to clarify that issue. In addition, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is converting one of its labs into a testing center, where pot can be checked for potency, mold and pesticides so consumers know what they are getting, said Bob Morgan, coordinator of the state program.

But first — hopefully within 30 days, he said — regulators will draw up criteria that will be used to score business applications to decide who will be awarded licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. The state intends to approve up to 21 cultivation centers and 60 retail stores spread around Illinois, based on issues like security, patient education and expertise in growing crops, Morgan said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Fed up - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    How about we move forward and legalize and tax weed already. I’ve heard rumors that the state could use some revenue.

  2. - Jack - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    Seriously, they need help growing pot near the U of I?

  3. - georgeatt - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    I agree…let us move on to complete legalization and taxation . It would be the revenue we sorley need. The question is, do we have smart politicians? I can’t say that we do.

  4. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    And then there’s the matter of figuring out how to start growing a crop that has been illegal for decades.

    Really, we have several colleges in this state odds are you can get seeds at one or two of them.

  5. - Person 8 - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    @fedup and georeatt

    Call it pot for pensions!

  6. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    Those state officials could ask their interns where to get seeds. They may have heard of a source.

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    you said joint commitee

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 5:48 pm:

    Unfortunately, there are still some heavy federal marijuana laws on the books so there is risk to getting in the business.

    Law enforcement agencies still get some sweet paydays from DEA whack-a-doos for marijuana eradication grants and shares in asset seizures.

    DEA is still trippin’ on its Reefer Madness message and brags about how it seized nearly $30 million in assets last year from marijuana growers.

    Congress is making some moves to protect medical marijuana, but marijuana remains illegal for any use as a federal Schedule I drug, on par with heroin and more dangerous than meth or oxy in the eyes of the law.

    DEA recently seized hemp seeds bound for a University of Kentucky science project. Hemp. Which isn’t actually a drug.

    Until Congress and the president grow a backbone, change the loony federal laws and rein in the goofs at DEA, it can still be a risky business even with state cover.

  9. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 6:20 pm:

    Word is right. Until the Feds take action, these guys can’t even open a bank account.

    o/t, but remember when the Audit Commission was described as “obscure but powerful?”

  10. - John a logan - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 11:03 pm:

    This is all so foolish

  11. - georgeatt - Thursday, Jul 17, 14 @ 8:24 am:

    John…the only foolish thing is our war on pot. For a drug that is safer for adults than alcohol, legalization is a no-brainer.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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