Category: Cannabis

Final regulations for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program do not appear in today’s Illinois Register. Publication in the Register is necessary for the regulations to take effect. Applications for dispensary and cultivation center permits have not been published yet either.

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If newspaper articles are an indicator of prospective applicants’ attitudes, then I infer many of them may be relieved that a week has passed without the applications being published. Newspaper articles from all over the state demonstrate that many cities, villages, and counties all over the state are only now thinking about cannabis medicine and what they can do to attract or deter a permit applicant in their community. Depending on the unique attributes of the municipal body and the territory in its jurisdiction, in some cases it is necessary to conduct formal procedures to adjust the zoning map or issue a special use permit. These things take time.

This week saw relevant news in Urbana (ISP District 10), Roseville (ISP District 14), Aurora (ISP District 2 and ISP District 5), Macomb (ISP District 14), Spring Valley (ISP District 17), Galesburg (ISP District 7), Naperville (ISP District 2 and ISP District 5), Stephenson County (ISP District 16), and Elgin (ISP District 2 and ISP District Chicago/Cook County).

Many people have opinions about when the agencies plan to publish applications. But theoretically it should not be possible to know what the agencies are thinking because law and regulations prohibit administrative agencies from engaging in ex parte communications with members of the public. Nonetheless it is apparent that many prospective applicants have hired lobbyists or otherwise purport to know when applications will be published. Everyone claims to know with certainty, yet no one has quite the same projection. Some say any day now; some say not until November.

My humble opinion is that so far the agencies have done a good job of proceeding at a reasonable and predictable pace. It doesn’t seem like external factors should influence the agencies to delay publication of applications any later than they believe necessary to fulfill their legal duties. To that end, I note that the Agriculture Department’s regulations as certified by JCAR narrow the application window for cultivation centers from 30 days to 15 days as evidence that they may wish to move briskly.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press wrote a great article this week exploring how physicians, health care facilities, and other medical professionals are adapting their policies to fit evolving cannabis laws and research. The article surveys reactions from some of the state’s most influential health care organizations, including the Illinois State Medical Society, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Health Care Council of Illinois, the Illinois Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the Illinois Hospital Association.

And there was an interesting article in Crain’s Chicago Business this week concerning a model of financing that some applicants may pursue. The article focuses on Prairie Wellness Fund Ltd.

The legal position surrounding cannabis seeds is a question that must occur to many people when they encounter websites with cannabis seeds for sale on the internet. After all, if cannabis is illegal, as it is in most jurisdictions, then surely its cultivation will be too. Well, as with most things in life, it isn’t quite that simple. There are countries where the possession of cannabis and its seeds is illegal and others, such as the UK, where the sale and possession of cannabis seeds are legal but the possession or cultivation of the plants is still illegal. Then there are countries such as Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, and The Netherlands where possession or cultivation for personal use is allowed. Even in the “Just say no to drugs” the USA there are now 14 states where you can buy weed online as the medical use of cannabis/marijuana is permitted with a doctor’s supporting statement which is now being backed by President Barack Obama’s directive to the FBI and DEA to stop the harassment and arrest of medical marijuana users and their legally certificated (by state law) medical grow operations.

This move has been taken a stage further with the recent announcement of a proposed referendum this coming autumn by the state of California to legalize and tax the cultivation and sale of marijuana as it is more commonly named there. The Schwarzenneger administration has identified that California’s most valuable cash crop has the potential to go a long way towards balancing the budget deficit of what is, in effect, the world’s ninth-largest economy were it to become a taxable commodity.

So, given the existence of such a wide range of government stances regarding the legality of cannabis products, it can be seen that all is not black and white in the world of cannabis. The position with the legality of cannabis has been in a state of worldwide flux for four decades now, at least in countries that can be loosely termed “western”, “liberal” and “democratic”. Understanding that the forces of liberalism and conservatism are engaged in a continual battle to define the freedoms which we are allowed to exercise as individuals it is perfectly rational to empathize with those who see that the freedom to treat oneself with cannabis, or just to enjoy it socially, is part of a greater struggle towards self-determination for citizens.

Further ammunition for the anti-prohibitionist arsenal is the evidence that wherever legalization, decriminalization, and harm reduction schemes have been implemented concerning all drugs there is a concomitant reduction in crime, death, and disease-related to those drugs. When even the use of hard drugs is decriminalized leading to positive outcomes it seems increasingly absurd to punish those who seek to heal themselves either physically or psychologically with a herb that can be grown almost anywhere in one form or another.

Hardliners argue that the relaxation of drug laws is always accompanied by an increase in so-called “drugs tourism” in cities such as Amsterdam ignoring the logical corollary that this happens purely because these locations are de facto oases in a prohibitionist desert. Widespread decriminalization removes the magnet-like effect of such cities at a stroke.

The collection and preservation of cannabis seeds, in the many and varied strains that are available nowadays (including automatic autoflowering seeds such as Lowryder 2), can be viewed as a logical activity for cultivation and use at a later time when the discriminatory laws and attitudes surrounding and prohibiting its use will be thought of as just as inhumane and arbitrary as the denial of universal suffrage. With the marked change in attitudes currently gaining ground in the United States who would bet against the medical and tax benefits being recognized by more administrations?