Weed, pot, marijuana—whatever you want to call it—it’s legal in the state of Illinois. Now what? On June 25, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed bill HB1438 into law—the sale and use of “recreational” marijuana by adults is legal starting today, Jan. 1, 2020. “Adults” are defined as anyone aged 21 and over, the Illinois drinking age, but unlike purchasing alcohol, there are a few more limitations in place when going for the green stuff. We’ve gathered all the information you need to know before swinging by your local dispensary. Read on for more.
Who is affected?
Legalization will help those who, until now, may have used marijuana illegally to help alleviate symptoms from chronic diseases like cancer. Medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2014, but the process of getting approved for a medical marijuana card requires more effort than some people are able to exert. A local paper in Belleville, Illinois, quotes state Rep. Bob Morgan saying that Illinois had “one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country.” Now, anyone over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana from dispensaries—for recreational or medical purposes.
As well, people currently incarcerated due to marijuana possession can petition to have their records expunged. According to ABC7Chicago, “Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has stated she supports marijuana legalization in Illinois, and that her office will expunge all misdemeanor marijuana convictions once it becomes legal.”
What can I buy?
If you are in treatment for cancer, your doctor will probably advise you against inhaling any material through the lungs. But good news—most dispensaries provide products to suit a multitude of tastes and preferences. From smokable plant product to THC-containing chocolate bars, there’s something for everyone at the neighborhood dispensary.
Most dispensaries will carry the following products:
- Dry flower: This form can be rolled into joints or smoked with a personal pipe; most dispensaries also sell pre-rolled joints.
- Vape pens and cartridges: The Center for Disease Control recommends totally abstaining from vaping THC due to the rise in VAPI (vaping-associated pulmonary illness). Cartridges may contain a number of unregulated ingredients that can damage your lungs—or they may not. cW is risk averse so we recommend you seek your high elsewhere. However, vape pens provide an odorless, smoke-free, and highly potent product to suit a variety of needs.
- Edibles: Fruit gummies, chocolate bars, cookies, fizzy drinks—there’s an edible to satisfy any sweet tooth, and they usually come in a wide range of potencies.
- Sublinguals: These are typically sold as oromucosal sprays. The THC is administered through a liquid that is sprayed under the tongue.
- Topicals: These are sold as gels or patches. They are applied topically to the skin, and allow for a slow diffusion of the product into the bloodstream, meaning they last longer and can mitigate psychoactivity—for example, if you are using marijuana for pain relief, these patches will help alleviate pain without giving you too much of a “head” high.
How much can I buy at one time?
According to ABC7Chicago, Illinois residents are able to purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana (dry flower), edibles totaling no more than 500mg of THC, and five grams of marijuana concentrate products (like vape pen cartridges). Non-Illinois residents are able to purchase half of those amounts.
Any other rules?
Marijuana consumption in private residences is perfectly legal, but it is against the law to consume marijuana on public property. (Think of it this way: You’re not allowed to knock back a glass of wine in a public park.)
I live in Chicago, where should I go?
All medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois existing before Jan. 1, 2020, are able to sell recreational marijuana. According to ABC7Chicago, new licenses will be processed in March, with new dispensary licenses issued on May 1, 2020, but after that, the state will need to complete a “disparity and market study of the industry” before accepting any more applications. Chicago dispensaries are staffed by marijuana aficionados who will be able to answer any question you have, such as identifying which strain will help promote appetite or sleep, or which will help alleviate pain.
Dispensary33 is Chicago’s first medical marijuana dispensary, located in the Andersonville neighborhood on the north side. They tout themselves as being the “most meticulous,” and it’s easy to see why. Workers from the dispensary visit each cultivator to ensure they will be selling the very best product. According to their website, “Every choice we make is founded on the core principle of providing patients with thoroughly researched knowledge and access to the highest quality products.”
Dispensary33, 5001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL
Verilife maintains four dispensaries in the Chicagoland area: Arlington Heights, North Aurora, Ottawa, and Romeoville. We appreciate the work they’re doing to reduce the stigma of using marijuana products. “Every day, we strive to remove the outdated perceptions associated with marijuana,” their website states. Verilife’s knowledgeable staff and seriously safe product (everything they sell is manufactured by their parent company, Pharmacann, an expert team of horticulturists, pharmacists, and process engineers) makes them one of our favorite dispensaries.
- 1816 South Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL
- 1804 Maple Ave., Evanston, IL
- 161 S. Lincolnway, Suite 301, North Aurora, IL
- 4104 Columbus St., Ottawa, IL
- 1335 Lakeside Dr., Unit 4, Romeoville, IL
MOCA Modern Cannabis is located in the heart of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Its bright and clean facilities are truly a sight to see, with big, bright colors and murals from local artists covering the walls. Plus, they host monthly Patient Mixers—an opportunity to meet other clients and the people who work there.
MOCA Modern Cannabis, 2847 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL
Conveniently located just three blocks north of Chicago’s Midway Airport, Midway Dispensary is conveniently located to serve native South Siders or those visiting the city for a long weekend. Their website is rife with information about how marijuana can alleviate symptoms of chronic disease, from nausea to chronic pain. Plus, their staff is comprised of experienced professionals who can answer any questions you may have about the medicinal use of marijuana.
5648 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL 60638