A group representing Illinois’ cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries is rolling out an online public awareness toolkit to help Illinois residents be responsible when recreational cannabis becomes legal on January 1st.
The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois has represented Illinois’ medical marijuana patients for the past several years and will be using that experience in advocating for responsible usage. Former Illinois Republican State Senator and director of the Cannabis Business Association, Pamela Althoff of McHenry, Illinois says its the industry’s duty to ensure residents enjoy themselves safely. “We are attempting to be the credible resource that people can go to for any and all information cannabis-related. The toolkit contains a list of dispensaries that will be open for recreational use. We also have the hours of operation, so people don’t think at 12:01 on January 1st they will be able to purchase cannabis. It doesn’t legally start until 6AM. We also have some suggestions about being responsible, the legal possession limits for in state and out of state, and Frequently Asked Questions.”
Althoff says that the association represents about 85% of the cannabis industry in the state currently. “The industry really felt it was our responsibility to our customers and our patients to assure them they will always have access to their medicine, and then to educate consumers about how to be responsible and how to approach adult-use cannabis responsibility. Like the liquor industry, we feel that it is part of our mission, as well, to ensure safety of our customers and safety of the community that has welcomed in a new industry.”
Althoff says there will be a limited supply available for recreational purchase in two weeks, but medicinal users will be the priority. “There will be limited supply. That’s been true of every state that has legalized recreational usage, including California and Colorado who had an entire year from the day the referendum was passed until the program was initiated [for cultivation]. We only had a period of about 5 months. It will be a short-lived scenario, as many cultivators are expanding and up and running for the next new batch of the cannabis crop. More importantly, consumers need to understand that medicinal users will always come first.”
Althoff said that maps to dispensaries will also be updated as more licenses come available from the state roll out. For access to the toolkit, visit http://www.cbail.org/legalization/ . Dispensaries around the state are already circulating the “Be Responsible” campaign information.