In the last few years, marijuana has been legalized in numerous countries across the United States. Naturally, these laws caused a lot of debate and discussion. These also vary between different states because, in some, it is only legal to use it for medical purposes, and in others, people are allowed to use it for recreational ones as well, while in some, it is still completely illegal. You can find a good interactive map here.
So, what about Chicago? After all, it is the third-most populous city in the US, which is why we believe it to be important to discuss the state of Illinois’ laws about this matter. Now, the big question is whether you can grow cannabis in Chicago. Well, continue reading this article to find out the answer.
How it all started
Before we answer this question, let’s travel through time. Interestingly, back in 1978, the Cannabis Control Act was passed, and this enabled people to use marijuana for medical purposes, but only on paper since the governmental agencies strongly opposed it and simply refused to implement it. Nevertheless, in 2016 a new act called the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act passed, and it actually started on a good note. People were allowed to use marijuana for these purposes, but they had to meet strict requirements to ensure that everything is still according to the law. Then, in 2017, legislators finally started thinking about making recreational cannabis legal in the state of Illinois.
The current status
Finally, in 2018, a new act allowed for the growth of programs that advocate for the legalization of recreational marijuana. We have to say that the most noticeable advocate for this question is the current governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker. He even stated during his inaugural speech that passing this law and making recreational marijuana legal in Chicago is one of his most important goals as a governor.
So, can you grow it?
Unfortunately, the answer that you have been looking for is no. Even though we sounded optimistic in the previous paragraphs, this act still hasn’t passed. Since recreational marijuana is still illegal, it naturally means that you cannot grow it. What’s more, you are not even allowed to have the flowers and leaves of the plant in your possession. In order to be able to possess these legally, you would have to have an Illinois medical cannabis grower’s license, and as you can assume, these are not easy to get.
Basically, this means that you will have to be patient and wait for this act to be passed. Keep in mind that not only is it illegal to use cannabis for recreational purposes, but the law also includes hash oil, marijuana seeds, infusions, and all the other forms. In a nutshell, you need a medical license that states that you need to use marijuana for medical purposes.
However, this might change soon. After all, there are a lot of advocates for this matter, and this legislation is still being prepared. According to this act, if it is passed, people will be allowed to grow up to 24 plants in their backyard for their own use, and those who hold the above-mentioned license will be enabled to sell marijuana as well.
While you wait for this act to be passed, and for cannabis to become legal in the eyes of the law, you can visit the Vela Community website, and learn about different types of cannabis seeds, since you might be able to plant and grow them in your garden. You can also consider moving to states such as California, Maine or Michigan (with some conditions) if you really want to grow it yourself. You can check the full list of legality in different states here.
What else should you know?
Since we have answered the main question, now we are going to provide you with some additional information regarding cannabis and its status in Chicago.
First things first, you shouldn’t call it marijuana. Yes, we know that this term is widely accepted, but still, when it comes to Chicago, it carries some anti-immigrant, racist issues. If you want to learn more about this, you should conduct online research. Cannabis is a scientific term that you should accept.
Moreover, there are numerous restrictions. You cannot grow it without a proper license, and you cannot possess more than it is allowed by the law. It is punishable to drive after consuming it, and as it is expected, you cannot carry it out of the state. Remember that cannabis that has more than 0.3% of THC is considered to be a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
Who can buy it is probably the next question that you have. When it comes to this matter, the rule is that you have to be over 21, same as with alcohol. Obviously, this means that minors cannot make this purchase, so no dispensary will sell it to you unless you are at least 21.
This brings us to our next point – Where to buy it? Currently, there are around 30 dispensaries where you can purchase cannabis. These are authorized and licensed by the state. Basically, here you can find a wide array of products, and the best part is that they employ so-called “budtenders, i.e., professionals that will educate you on this question and help you find the best product for you. Another interesting fact is that most of these dispensaries turned down the opportunity to sell recreational cannabis, so they remain medical.
In addition, even though you can choose between numerous products, there are still regulations when it comes to quantity. The law limits you to 500mg of THC edibles, 30g of plant material, or 5g of cannabis concentrate.
What’s more, even though we have already mentioned this, we will state it one more time – you cannot take these products out of the state. This rule falls under federal law, and according to it, cannabis is still illegal. If you are an adult, that is, if you are over 21, you can have it in your possession and travel across the country in a car, but you cannot take it on the plane. When it comes to the former, keep in mind that it has to be kept in a secure container that is sealed.
Lastly, when it comes to the location where you can consume it, you are only allowed to do this at home and with people who are of legal age. This means that you cannot consume it at any public place.