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Rep. Didech Proposes Self-Exclusion Program For Weed Dispensaries

BUFFALO GROVE, IL — State Rep. Dan Didech recently introduced legislation aimed at helping people in Illinois dealing with addiction following the Jan. 1 legalization of recreational cannabis for adults over 21 years old. According to a news release sent to Patch, Didech, (D-Buffalo Grove), introduced House Bill 4134, which will allow the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to create a list of people that wish to exclude themselves from entering or purchasing any (cannabis-related) product or service at a dispensary. The self-exclusion program for dispensaries is modeled after what’s now in place for casinos, according to the news release.

“With recreational cannabis now in effect, we must be proactive in order to prevent any unintended issues,” Didech said, in the release. “This legislation will not only allow people to take ownership of their lives but it will also make businesses more responsible and accountable.”

Under Didech’s proposal, IDPH would establish procedures for Illinois residents to add or remove themselves from the list, in addition to requiring dispensaries to remove self-excluded individuals from targeted mailings and advertisements, the release said. Dispensaries that allow entry or service to self-excluded individuals on the list will face disciplinary actions from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), according to the news release.


“While we must reject any outdated rhetoric that cannabis is some type of gateway drug, we must also ensure that people facing addiction have access to all type of services,” Didech said, in the release. “I look forward to working with all my colleagues to continue our work to support the responsible use of recreational cannabis.”

According to the news release, this legislation was modeled after the Illinois Gaming Board’s Statewide Riverboat Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (SEP) for Problem Gamblers that allows persons who have determined they are problem gamblers to self-exclude themselves from all Illinois casinos.

During the state’s first 31 days of legal adult-use cannabis, dispensaries sold more than 972,000 items, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, or IDFPR.

Last month, the Buffalo Grove Village Board voted to allow PDI Medical to move out of its current space at 1623 Barclay Boulevard into a space at 830 to 840 N. Milwaukee Avenue, where it will open as a combined recreational and medical marijuana dispensary.

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via Buffalo Grove Patch

February 4, 2020 at 10:17AM

Bill lets library districts tax local cannabis sales

SPRINGFIELD — A bill filed in Springfield could allow local libraries to get a cut of the taxes on recreational cannabis sales, but it would come at the potential expense of county-level taxes.

House Bill 4135 would allow the state’s more than 600 libraries to impose a 1 percent tax on recreational cannabis sales in their jurisdictions.

State Rep. Dan Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, said the idea for his legislation came from a conversation with a local library official.

“With the new cannabis law going into effect and a significant amount of tax revenue being generated by legal adult-use cannabis, they were interested in getting a piece of that pie,” he said.

Illinois’ combined tax rate for recreational cannabis is one of the highest in the nation, climbing as steep as 41 percent in some areas, depending on the potency of the product and local taxes.

In exchange for the 1 percent tax, the county that the library is in would be limited to taxing cannabis sales in the library district at up to 2 percent. Under existing law, counties can tax local recreational cannabis sales up to 3 percent. Didech’s bill would essentially redirect 1 percent of that to libraries.

County officials have raised concerns about the bill.

“What’s disappointing is that [the law] only happened in August and here we are in January and there’s already a pending bill that’s going to take away that three percent that the legislature recently afforded and divert it to another taxing jurisdiction without a direct correlation to the burden and impact of cannabis,” said Scott Hartman, president of the Illinois Association of County Administrators. Hartman is the deputy county administrator in McHenry County.

Didech said his bill could potentially help reduce property taxes because it…

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January 23, 2020 at 10:50AM

Illinois legislators consider vaping flavor restrictions in light of deaths, illnesses

“It’s become a health crisis,” said Democratic state Rep. Deb Conroy of Villa Park, who’s sponsoring a bill that would ban all vaping flavors except menthol. “People are dying.”

The issue has gained fresh traction with state legislators as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that at least 530 people have been sickened and seven have died in Illinois and 37 other states from a mysterious vaping-related illness. While no single cause has been found, the CDC says patients in most cases have reported THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, though many also vaped nicotine.

Conroy will chair a House committee meeting set for Monday in downtown Chicago on “addressing the vaping crisis.” She said the issue came into focus for her through student advisory groups at high schools in her west suburban district.

CHICAGO — Inspired and scared by the recent spate of hospitalizations and deaths from a mystery respiratory illness linked to vaping, young pe…

Critics say many vape flavors serve as a lure to underage users. A group of 15 student interns spent the summer researching vaping, and some plan to testify Monday about the impacts of vaping on young people before the House Mental Health Committee that Conroy chairs.

“You can’t walk into a bathroom and not see at least three kids vaping,” said Jack Carey, a 17-year-old senior at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park who was among the student interns.

He said he hopes that his testimony will resonate with lawmakers because he’s not a lobbyist for a company or special interest.

“I’m not working for anyone,” Carey said. “I’m not on anyone’s payroll. I’m doing this because I genuinely care about what happens to me and my friends.”

A second House bill would make exceptions for mint and wintergreen, in addition to menthol. Those aren’t as “egregious” as some of the flavor offerings that could be more attractive to young people, said Rep. Grant Wehrli, a Naperville Republican and the bill’s sponsor.

“I understand the importance of these devices to help people get off of ignited tobacco — that’s a good thing. And so, I don’t want to remove that capability,” Wehrli said. “But when it came to the flavors, some that they offer are just ridiculous. I don’t know an adult that’s really going to vape bubble gum-flavored anything.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker “supports the efforts of state lawmakers to outlaw flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products” during the General Assembly’s six-day fall session, set to start Oct. 28, a spokeswoman said. The governor’s office did not make clear if Pritzker is amenable to exceptions like those in the two House bills.

Illinois legislators would be following a local and nationwide movement. Last week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a citywide ban on flavored tobacco liquid used in vaping products.

New York last week became the first state to enact an immediate ban on flavored electronic cigarettes and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered a ban earlier this month that has yet to take effect. (Pritzker doesn’t have the power to issue an executive order like the one in New York.)

The issue isn’t a new one in Illinois. In 2010, the American Lung Association backed a bill that would have banned the sale of vaping devices in the state unless they were approved by the FDA as smoking-cessation or harm-reduction products and sold exclusively for that purpose. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure, but it was never taken up in the House.

As of July 1, Illinois’ smoking age increased to 21 from 18 through a measure that includes e-cigarettes and vaping materials. A measure Pritzker signed into law this summer created a state tax on vaping devices for the first time and created a license for retailers. That legislation was simply a way for the state Department of Revenue to track who to tax, not a way to regulate what goes into the products, said Kathy Drea, the chief lobbyist for the American Lung Association in Illinois.

Vape shop owners argue the flavor bans will put them out of business, and foresee people who vape returning to smoking cigarettes if the products are removed from the market. They’ve also said their products aren’t to blame for the string of sicknesses that have been linked to vaping.

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The focus should be on black market THC products that have been linked to the outbreak of illnesses, said Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association.

“The issue of underage e-cigarette use — and some of the marketing practices from a few bad actors that led to that ? is without question something that has to be addressed and something we have been addressing,” Abboud said. “But what we are very concerned about is the unregulated products that are causing these illnesses and deaths are being ignored. And I think our government, both in Illinois and nationally, has to focus on that.”

San Francisco-based Juul Labs, which dominates the vaping market, voluntarily stopped selling flavors other than tobacco and menthol through retail stores last year in the face of federal scrutiny, though other flavors, such as mango and creme, are still available online.

But Juul believes an outright ban on vaping — which one Chicago alderman has proposed for the city — would “drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use,” spokesman Austin Finan said.

Victoria Vasconcellos, president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, is a former smoker who was able to kick cigarettes by using vaping products, leading her to open a vape shop of her own in Elmhurst. She now has five suburban locations and thinks a flavor ban would likely at least force her to consolidate to fewer shops.

She estimates, flavored products make up as much as 80% of sales for some vape shops.

“Everybody enjoys flavors. You may think cotton candy is immature, or you may think bubble gum is immature, but there are adults that like that flavor,” she said. “Where I think the line needs to be is not who defines what is an adult flavor or not. I think it needs to be in the marketing and packaging. That’s where it needs to be.”

Some vape shop owners have pointed to the mysterious lung disease as a reason to buy products from their stores rather than on the street or over the internet, but Drea said it’s important for consumers to realize that no government agency is regulating what goes into vaping pods or monitoring the sanitary conditions during manufacturing.

E-cigarette manufacturers will have to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for “premarket authorization” by May 12, but a federal court ruling will allow manufacturers that file applications to keep their products on the market during a one-year review period.

“One thing I don’t think people understand is that there’s no such thing as a regulated electronic cigarette,” Drea said. “It seems like, for some strange reason, people don’t care about what they’re putting into their lungs, but my goodness, we’re putting this in our mouths.”

Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat who sponsored the 2010 measure to ban e-cigarettes, introduced the bill to apply the state’s indoor smoking ban to vaping devices. Drea said Link has assured her that he plans to call the measure for a vote this fall. Link did not respond to requests for comment.

Prohibiting vaping in public places would “de-normalize electronic cigarettes,” Drea said. “Kids won’t see people using them everywhere.”

Drea said her organization can’t support legislation that allows the continued sale of flavors like menthol and mint. Conroy said she’s open to amending her bill to prohibit menthol-flavored products as well.

In addition to the flavor ban, Conroy is drafting legislation that would regulate the level of nicotine in vaping products.

While she acknowledges that it’s ultimately the FDA’s job to regulate tobacco products, “we’re not seeing a lot of substantial things happening out of Washington, sadly,” she said.

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September 21, 2019 at 06:29PM

Will County residents learn about legalized recreational marijuana at local event

State Rep. Natalie Manley hosted one of her colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday to talk to Will County residents about the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

Manley, D-Joliet, introduced State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, to talk about the law the state legislature passed earlier this year, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Morgan is a former health care attorney and helped the state government implement the Affordable Care Act and its medical marijuana program under two governors.

About two dozen residents attended the informational session and questioned Morgan about the particulars of the law and what issues could come up.

Morgan conceded it wouldn’t be perfect at first, and the growing and availability of the product wouldn’t be overly expansive right from the start.

"It was definitely deliberately designed so that we’re starting slow and (having) more measured growth," Morgan said.

Romeoville resident Frank Gagliardo, 80, told Morgan about his struggles trying to get medical marijuana for his wife who died of multiple sclerosis several years ago.

He said needing to get fingerprinted and pay fees for the drug was cumbersome, and prevented him from even getting the drug for his wife.

Morgan said the state got rid of requiring fingerprinting for medical marijuana, although there were still some fees, which he conceded were expensive.

He also explained it would still be to a patient’s advantage to use medical marijuana over purchasing recreational marijuana for ailments.

That’s because of cheaper taxes.

Patients would also have priority access to the product, since there might be a shortage in the recreational supply in the first few years of its being legal in Illinois.

That was good news for Gagliardo because, he said, despite never having smoked marijuana, he’s been experiencing shoulder pain after years of being a truck driver and wants to find new remedies.

"I’m interested in weening myself off of Tylenol and having the oils and the edibles," Gagliardo said.

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City: Joliet,Region: Joliet,Region: South Suburbs,Opinion

via The Herald-News

September 18, 2019 at 02:26PM

Rockford Area Lawmaker Hopeful — And Concerned — About Recreational Marijuana Law

The law allowing recreational marijuana in Illinois takes effect next year, and people are trying to get ready. State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) says he is holding conversations about implementing it with the mayor of Rockford, the Winnebago County State’s Attorney, and others in his 67th District. Guy Stephens spoke with West about the law, and began by asking why he voted for it.

Listen to the conversation

MW: Taxing it brings millions more dollars to our state that we plan to divvy up. For example, we have 20% going to mental health, we have a percentage going into unpaid bills. So yeah, the taxation, the revenue that comes with it is good. The regulation side of it? We all have heard of stories, and in my case, I’ve had personal stories with friends and family members who may have smoked something that was not what they thought it was. I’ve seen that happen throughout the community growing up in high school here in Rockford. People smoke something that they thought was something, but it wasn’t. We regulate it, we know that it’s pure. So yeah, those two things are great, they will be beneficial. But I need to stand up for the black and brown people who might be in my district who are adversely affected by what we call the “war on drugs.” So that’s the biggest part.

GS: Explain that a little further.

MW: If you go into our prison systems, or our jail systems, and divvy up all the people who are in there because of marijuana possession, it will be primarily black people, brown people, minority communities, or low income white communities who will be in jail for this. And so with this, the number I heard was almost 800,000 people will see their record expunged. And now also with this piece of legislation, now we’re trying to find ways to help you to get back into society.

GS: So much is still up in the air, still to kind of be ironed out for the implementation.

MW: Yeah.

GS: But what are your hopes for the law?

MW: My hope is that I see a lot more people who are happy that they have that conviction off the record. That more people are able to go and find a job or get a job because they don’t have that record from when they were 17 or when they were in their 20s or whenever. People are able to provide for their family. My hope, also, is that 50 years from now, when we look at it, it’s still regulated — that it’s not out of control, that it’s not a dispensary on every corner. In the 1930s we ended Prohibition. I’m assuming that they wanted to regulate it and tax it as well. But now we have a liquor store in every corner — just about, in some areas. And I don’t want to be 30-40 years from now, wishing that I did not vote for this bill.

GS: Is it really just making sure that the regulations adhere to that thought?

MW: Within the bill, they call it “R-3,” but it stands for Recovery, Reinvest and Renew. So one thing that we will be doing is a study a year from now, two years from now, to see how things are progressing. Are we expunging? Yes. But are they getting jobs? No? Okay, well, what are we doing wrong? What do we need to fix? Are we expunging? No, we’re not. Are people getting jobs? No. Then we squash the whole thing. We stop the whole thing and start over. So another thing that gave me peace of mind was this is not a piece of legislation that we vote for at the end of May, and we’re done with now. This is something that we will keep our eyes on making sure that the Recovery, the Reinvest and the Renew is effective throughout the state. And making sure that it’s not going overboard, is not turning into a liquor store on every corner. So every legislator who voted for this bill, they have a vested interest in making sure that this works. And that means trailer bills will come when we see something that’s not really working.

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Region: Northern,News,Region: DeKalb,City: DeKalb

via Guy Stephens

July 23, 2019 at 05:39AM

Gordon-Booth: Marijuana Legalization Bill Contains “Reparations” For War on Drugs

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) is hailing today’s  passage of a recreational cannabis bill into law.

She said the criminal justice reforms in the bill serve as reparations and help repair the harm done by the so-called “War on Drugs” over the past four decades.

“After 40 years of treating entire communities like criminals, here comes this multi-billion dollar industry, and guess what? Black and brown people have been put at the very center of this policy,” she said.

Twenty-five percent of the tax revenue generated by legalization will go towards the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program to aid communities most impacted by economic disinvestment, violence and the lingering effects of incarceration linked to heavier penalties during the War on Drugs. 

Under the bill, 700,000 criminal convictions are also eligible for expungement. Gordon-Booth was heavily involved in the criminal justice aspects of the legalization bill. 

“Governor Pritzker and our legislative leaders have recognized through this law that any opportunity to advance the legal cannabis industry must also address how the war on drugs continues to afflict communities,” said Revolution Cannabis CEO Mark de Souza in prepared remarks. “By removing thousands of cannabis misdemeanors and producing thousands of jobs across the state, they have done an extraordinary service to jumpstart communities across Illinois.”

Revolution Cannabis runs a cannabis cultivation facility in Delavan and a dispensary in the Chicago suburb of Mount Prospect.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch said that while he’s had reservations about legalizing cannabis, he believes the legislation passed will allow businesses and local communities some flexibility in deciding how legalization looks.

“We believe the bill Governor Pritzker signed today, includes the strongest workplace protections in the nation, and maintains sturdy local control over zoning. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the importance of workplace protections for employers, employees and the public,” said Maisch in a prepared statement. 

House Bill 1438 allows employers to maintain zero-tolerance drug policies related to cannabis usage, and also gives local municipalities wide leeway over the breadth of cannabis availability and usage in their juristicitions. 

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June 25, 2019 at 02:34PM

Gordon-Booth: 2019 Legislative Session Was “Historic”

SPRINGFIELD — Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Democrats who control the General Assembly passed a flurry of major legislation in the closing days of this year’s legislative session.

State Rep. Jehan-Gordon Booth (D-Peoria) said lawmakers were highly productive this year.


“This legislative session was historic. The Illinois General Assembly, in over a hundred years, have never worked on this many groundbreaking issues successfully – in one year,” she said. “This year was absolutely historic. We’ve never had a year this significant, at least in my tenure being in the legislature.”

Some of the major legislation passed includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, passing a $45 billion capital bill for infrastructure improvements and offering the voters a chance to amend the Illinois Constitution to shift the state to a graduated income tax.


She says that many of the progressive ideas passed this session are nothing new, but ultimately required needed votes in the legislature and the governor’s signature to become law.


“For years, you’ve had folks talking about the need to put a progressive income tax on the ballot. Let the people choose what they think is the right way to be funding the very functionality of our government. A balanced budget, what a novel idea. Fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage,” she said.



After the 2018 midterms, Democrats now hold supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, and Democrat J.B. Pritzker defeated Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in his bid for re-election to the governor’s office.

Gordon-Booth also spearheaded recreational cannabis legalization. She called Illinois’ proposed legislation the “most equitable” in the nation.


She said she “could not be more proud” of what legislators achieved in the closing days of the session.


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News,Region: Peoria,City: Peoria,Region: Central


June 13, 2019 at 04:39PM

State Rep. Katie Stuart discusses marijuana legalization

Politics & Government

State Rep. Katie Stuart discusses marijuana legalization


State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, discusses why she voted "yes" on legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois. She said she had concerns about the expungement process and law enforcement issues.

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June 7, 2019 at 09:03PM

Rep. Gordon-Booth Talks Benefits Of Legalized Pot

700,000 people.

That is roughly how many Illinois residents could have their criminal records expunged or sealed once recreational marijuana use is signed into law by the governor, according to Democratic State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria.

Gordon-Booth, who represents the 92nd District, has been pushing for legalization for three years.

“The amount of people that I saw having their lives literally turned upside-down because of minor offenses, often minor cannabis offenses. Many folks are locked out of jobs, locked out of housing and financial aid due to their records,” Gordon-Booth told WMBD’s Greg and Dan.

Gordon-Booth said these people are adults, with kids in our public schools, that have been stuck in poverty due to their convictions.

Gordon-Booth says legalized marijuana would provide new opportunities for residents who have been convicted of minor offenses.

“The disparity between African-Americans and non African-Americans that participate in this phase, the numbers are about the same. But, convictions rates are 4-to-5 times (for African-Americans),” Gordon-Booth said.

Gordon-Booth says making recreational marijuana legal in Illinois will not increase use. She says typically the numbers go down, except for one group.

“The only age group that sees a real uptick are those folks between 55 and 70,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he will sign the legislation into law.

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June 4, 2019 at 01:13PM

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