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Looking on the bright side

Monday, Sep 16, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Sun-Times finally departed yesterday from its “reefer madness” bent

New research shows crime rates dropped substantially in areas with marijuana dispensaries, running counter to fears that pot shops drum up crime.

The study, published this month in the journal of Regional Science and Urban Economics, analyzed crime data from Denver between January 2013 and December 2016. Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana nearly two decades ago, kicked off sales of recreational pot in 2014.

”The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period,” the study states.

While those findings are highly localized, Illinois State University criminology professor Ralph Weisheit said the results could be “magnified in Illinois.” That’s because the state’s 610-page pot law prioritizes criminal justice and social equity and encourages the hiring of people from “economically-impoverished neighborhoods,” Weisheit said.

* New state-created industries should have new rules, including these

When Illinois’ new law legalizing recreational marijuana takes effect Jan. 1, growers will face some of the strongest energy efficiency and reporting requirements in the country.

Marijuana can be an energy intensive crop. The new electricity load to power lighting, heating and ventilation for indoor grow facilities has strained the grid and even caused blackouts in other places after it was legalized.

The Illinois law seeks to avoid those problems by mandating efficiency standards and capping the amount of power used per square foot. Clean energy advocates said they were hopeful the law would lead other states to follow suit, though more work is needed between utilities and growers to manage power demand. […]

In Denver, public health officials in 2018 reported almost 4% of the city’s total electricity use was from cannabis, up from 1.5% in 2012. In the six months after recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon in 2015, Portland-based Pacific Power reported seven blackouts in its service territory from indoor growing operations.

* This problem can be prevented with government regulation that comes with legalization

As U.S health officials scramble to identify the root cause of hundreds of severe lung illnesses tied to vaping, one possible culprit identified so far is a line of illicit marijuana vape products sold under the brand names “Dank Vapes” and “Chronic Carts.”

A study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than half of patients with the lung illness – 24 of 41 – who were extensively interviewed in Wisconsin and Illinois reported having used the “Dank Vapes” brand. […]

The “Dank Vapes” brand is an illicit product that uses diluted THC oil, Downs said.

Drug dealers, looking to make as much money as possible,  cut THC oil with Vitamin E acetate to dilute it but make it still appear pure to consumers, Downs said. “It can cut THC oil while keeping it thick.”

* Meanwhile, let’s get that Cheesehead money

[Wisconsin state Rep. Shelia Stubbs] grew up in Beloit and said she saw the impact of state policy on the border community. People would flitter between states depending on what was available in one state and not the other. She predicted the same will happen with cannabis, with Wisconsin money, tax revenue, and business flowing into Illinois.

“You’re going to see a boon in traffic, you’re going to see communities grow even faster, the economy is going to go there. If you ever go to South Beloit and Beloit … there’s more crime than there is employment. And so I know the state of Illinois, they need the economy. Do you think the state of Wisconsin doesn’t?”

* Let’s get that Iowa money, too

Phil Armer said he sees the benefits of decriminalization as keeping businesses flowing between the two states, and one day that it might not even be an issue.

Armer said, “Illinois is reaping great financial benefits from the medical cannabis and soon to be recreational and I want to be part of the movement to get my city and state to start reaping those same financial benefits.”

Decriminalize Davenport said they working to have their idea considered by the beginning of the year.

* And…

* Related…

* Jo Daviess County Board votes to allow marijuana businesses in parts of the county

* Planning for pot: Rock Falls working out where marijuana shops can be located

* ‘Budtenders’ wanting to sell adult-use cannabis in Illinois must get training by Nov. 30: “There’s going to be so many new consumers entering this industry, people that haven’t used cannabis before, people that haven’t used it in 20 years, and the first point of contact is going to be that budtender,” Cresco Labs Spokesman Jason Erkes said. “It’s important for them to know the rules and regulations and all those things but also really educate themselves on the different products and the industry as a whole to make sure that first consumer touchpoint experience is a positive one.”

* Hoyer plans cannabis banking vote this month


  1. - Been There - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Franks will take the money for the board. He just wants to have a reason to vote against it and still be able to say he never voted for a tax or tax increase.

  2. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    Developers are champing at the bit…where I live…Zoning is their challenge.

  3. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    Victoria Williams, founder of Aurora Cannabis Consultants, which is an approved trainer, said their training costs up to $300.

    Aurora already winning with this. Excellent.
    Hope someone offers a class at a location in Naperville.

  4. - A Jack - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    It is very energy efficient to just grow a few plants outside. And it is good for the environment. Mandate a fence around the plants to keep out those under 21.

  5. - A Jack - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    Wisconsin also has legal weed to the north in Canada. The cheeseheads may as well legalize weed rather than deal with all that border traffic. Although Illinois needs the money, border traffic caused problems in the past when there was a disparity in drinking age between Illinois and Wisconsin.

  6. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Bit of a dirve from Northern Wisconsin to Canada, with the UP and/or Lake Superier or MN in the way.

  7. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:04 pm:

    Also reguardless of if it is legal on both sides of the border I suspect transporting it into the US is a big time no-no with US Customs.

  8. - A Jack - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    Michigan has also legalized weed, so the Uppers may get some Wisconsin business.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    With all the violence and serious crimes, law enforcement, jails, prisons and the criminal justice system are not meant for low-level nonviolent drug offenders. What a waste it has been to use precious resources to lock certain people up. So glad we’re starting to free ourselves from reefer madness and paranoid voices of yesteryear. Hoping the federal banking bill becomes law, so it’s not a cash-only business.

  10. - Bourbon Street - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    If the Sun-Times can finally join the 21st century, maybe the feds won’t be too far behind. Or, is that too much to ask?

  11. - SSL - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    It will be nice to have people coming into Illinois from neighboring states with their wallets. They can keep their fireworks and let Illinois sell legalized pot. Same with the increased gambling efforts. For too long people were going to Indiana while Illinois slept.

    We need the revenue.

  12. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    I think we should open up some large store on all the boarders. Like the firework stores in Indiana, or the cheese shops in wisc selling new glarus. I hope they get that road done to Madison soon. It’s going to cut down on profits. I see gaining from all 5 neighbors. why not, it’s their guns flooding our streets, lets sell them our pot.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 16, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    “Like the firework stores in Indiana”

    With lots of billboard ads, like Krazy Kaplans Fireworks, but for marijuana dispensaries.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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