POT TOPICS: Pritzker pushes pot agenda on 4/20, Schumer backs decriminalization

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A marijuana sample at the 2018 New England Cannabis Convention. | AP Photo/Steven Senne

POT TOPICS is a weekly collection of cannabis-related news curated by the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s this week’s top stories:

Pritzker pushes pot agenda on “Weed Day”

April 20, commonly referred to as 4/20 by the stoner set, marks an unofficial holiday for marijuana advocates. In a piece for the Sun-Times, Tina Sfondeles noted that Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker plans to blast out an email, video and other social media efforts Friday to highlight his push for legalization. Pritzker thinks legalization could bring in between $350 million and $700 million in revenue, but some anti-marijuana groups dispute that figure.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. | Andrew Harnik/AP photo

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. | Andrew Harnik/AP photo

Schumer announces plan to decriminalize cannabis

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced he would be sponsoring a bill aimed at decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, according to USA Today.

“I’m doing it because I think it’s the right thing to do. I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined by the criminalization,” Schumer said in an interview this week with Vice News. “The best thing to do is let each state decide on its own.”

FDA recommends approval for CBD drug

The advisory committee to the FDA unanimously voted Thursday to recommend approval of a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s commonly used to treat seizures, according to the Associated Press. The ruling on the drug, Epidiolex, paves the way for full approval.

Pot industry poised for further growth after Trump backs off

Last week, Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo, said President Donald Trump promised to support legislation protecting the cannabis industry in states that have legalized the drug. People working in the pot industry in Colorado are now preparing for greater growth since Trump signaled a more hands-off approach, USA Today reported.

Conservative states move to legalize cannabis for medical use

Legislatures in Utah and Oklahoma, two of the country’s most conservative states, are now moving to legalize cannabis for medical use. Utah’s bill faces stiff opposition from the powerful Mormon church, which said earlier this month that it respects the “wise counsel” of doctors while condemning the Utah Medical Association for opposing it, AP reported

The front cover of the April 20, 2018 issue of Kitchen Toke magazine. | Cover art by Romy Buemel

The front cover of the April 20, 2018 issue of Kitchen Toke magazine. | Cover art by Romy Buemel

Local magazine cooks up cannabis-infused recipes

Kitchen Toke, a Chicago-based cannabis cooking magazine, released its second issue just in time for the 4/20 holiday. Laura Lee, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, and Joline Rivera, the creative director, spoke to the Sun-Times about the project.

Upcoming cannabis events in the Chicago area:

• Waldos Forever Fest is named a group of California teens in the 1970s who coined the term 4/20. The event, which features music and educational opportunities, runs until 9 p.m. Friday.

• The Illinois Cannabis Education Expo will host presentations from cannabis experts and on-site evaluations for patients from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, 2855 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Northbrook.

• Pharmacann, the largest medical marijuana provider in Illinois, hosts an event to educate physicians on the state’s medical cannabis program at 6 p.m. May 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1818 Maple Ave. in Evanston. (Note: Event is only open to medical professionals.)

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