I wanted to talk about a more sensitive subject involving indoor growing, it’s about the proverbial elephant in the room when customers walk into our store. In my effort to be well informed, I paid to attend a meeting/instructional seminar presented by NORML, the Illinois’ branch. The presentation, very professionally produced, was about new laws going into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2014. In essence, the new laws only pertain to people with specific medical needs, and the establishment of a mechanism to fulfill those needs.
Everything in this new law is an attempt to be so well regulated that the federal government would have little cause to intervene in its implementation. This law has been passed on a four year trial basis, I suppose to alleviate the lawmaker’s fear of problems or unintended consequences, however it would only take the modification of one sentence in the law to make it permanent. Since there are no provisions in Illinois to adopt ballot initiatives directly into law, the lawmakers such as Lou Lang (D) Illinois 16th Dist Representative, who introduced this law, and all those who voted for the law should, in my mind, be applauded. In some other states that allow direct ballot initiatives, laws may not have been so carefully drawn, thus inviting the scrutiny of the federal government. In Illinois, there will be a set amount of dispensaries, a set amount of cultivation centers, and a tightly controlled, regulated list of medical needs in order to receive a prescription. The Illinois State Police will be conducting background checks on owners and employees, as well as 24/7 video monitoring of cultivation sites; all of these additional duties for law enforcement will incur extra expense, so owners can expect fees that must all be paid for within the business and not by taxing ordinary citizens.
You can read up on this upcoming law at the Illinois General Assembly website, and enter HB1 in their search box.
What do these new laws have to do with you and me? Nothing really ; what was legal and what was illegal to grow in or at your home before and after January 1, 2014 will not change, at least for now. What may change is the general public’s attitude towards home cultivation, that in turn can relax both government and law enforcement agencies. I can foresee, once Illinois discovers that the sky is not falling on January 1st, modifications to these laws that would allow caregivers the right to grow enough plants to supply the medical needs of their patients.
There is more and more research being brought to light on the benefits of cannabinoids on human health and well being. I am reading an independently published book “The Cannabis Papers” which is a collection of articles and papers on the subject. You can find this book or even a free download on the publisher’s web site. It seems to me that a day doesn’t go by without someone in the mainstream media mentioning cannabis, whether it’s a joke, a news story or a serious comment.
I am looking forward to 2014 in Illinois, while the new laws will not change what my customers can legally grow in their homes, I believe that a step in the right direction has been taken that will lead to more openness and freedom in this growing hobby.
Thanks for reading,