The most populous city in the state of Illinois and the third most populous in all of the United States, Chicago is clearly one of the most important cities in North America. Of late, there has been a tremendous level of excitement in the Americas with the legalization of weed.
First legislation of the plant started in Uruguay in South America; Canada later also followed suit by legalizing it. Being a major commercial center, the natural question from many Chicagoans is if they can also grow weed in their city. This article is going to answer this question in the most detailed way possible.
Weed has a very interesting history in Chicago. Although as at the moment, cannabis has been decriminalized and is now legal for medical use in Illinois, it is worth taking a look at the history. In mid-20th century, the state of Illinois placed a prohibition on the recreational use of cannabis. This same step was also taken across the nation by dozens of other states at that time. This trend was to continue until 1978 when the state of Illinois passed the Cannabis Control Act. The new legislation gave room for marijuana to be used for medical purposes. But the law was basically useless because the two governmental agencies responsible for implementing it simply refused to do so.
It would be until the year 2013 that the state of Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The new legislation allowed for the use of medical marijuana but under very serious conditions. That legislation was implemented, and it took off on a good note. This was the situation until July 2016 when the state of Illinois took another step with the decriminalization of cannabis. The decriminalization law slashed the penalty for less than 10 grams of cannabis to a fine of only $100 to $200. The rapid advancement in advocacy for weed in the state continued and reached a zenith in March 2017 when legislators tinkered with the concept of legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.
Weed in Chicago Today
In 2018, a new legislation allowed for the massive expansion of the approved medical cannabis program. Fast forward to this year and the governor JB Pritzker is one of the most prominent advocates of legalization of recreational marijuana. He even went as far as saying during his inaugural speech that legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois is one of his most important goals for him as governor.
So back to the question: can you grow marijuana in Chicago?
Well, even though medical marijuana is legal in Chicago, the recreational use is against the law and the same thing goes for the growing of weed. As a matter of fact, it is illegal for you to even have the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant, even if you do not intend to use it for recreational use. To have a marijuana plant, you would need an Illinois medical cannabis growers license.
In other words, you may have to just wait until the current piece of legislation that is being worked on is finally passed. Some reports indicate the law may be passed in a matter of days. That is surely good news for those who have been waiting for this to happen for a very long time. Just put it in mind that apart from medical marijuana, all other forms of weed are illegal in Chicago. These include marijuana, hash, cannabis seeds that can grow into plants, hash oil, infusions and others. But as stated earlier, not all hope is lost yet. This is because the legislation that is being prepared to allow for the full legalization of weed in all of Illinois. The bill is proposing that people in the state be allowed up to as much as 24 plants in their homes.
This bill was introduced on the 25th of January 2019 by a Democratic state legislator Carol Ammons of Urbana. The piece if passed, will allow license holders to grow and sell their weed while residents will also be allowed to plant weed right in their backyards. The bill is far more sophisticated than what some other legislators are proposing. The extent of the proposal aside, the most important thing is that it has triggered the discussions necessary to see it through.
The bill also makes provision for the establishment of consumption sections where clients can smoke or ingest weed. And it does not stop there, 10% of the net income of a weed enterprise is also going to be paid to the local governing body, this is in addition to another 10% excise tax for the state. It is now understandable why many citizens and especially minority ventures in the state cannot wait for the law to be passed. This is because it promises to unleash countless opportunities – but until then, do not grow weed anywhere in Chicago.