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Marijuana

Cannabis is a growing industry in Chicago and Illinois. Here's our comprehensive coverage, from the legalization of recreational marijuana to cooking with cannabis.

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Movie houses are closing. Could pot palaces open in their place?

The owner of an old AMC movie house in Springfield hopes to transform the theater into a cannabis co-op housing a dispensary, a greenhouse and a lounge to get high — a model its owner wants to replicate around the country.

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West Loop cafe infusing food with ‘diet weed’ draws long lines, complaints — prompting alderman to intervene

The early success of Canna Cafe, 1301 W. Washington, comes as lawmakers and players in the legal cannabis industry call for a clampdown on the hemp-derived compound known as Delta-8-THC, which is similar to the component in weed that gets users high.

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An unregulated, weed-like drug dubbed ‘CBD on crack’ has spiked in popularity. Now the legal pot industry is calling for a crackdown.

Chicago businesses are exploiting an apparent loophole in federal law that allows the unfettered sale of a trendy hemp byproduct called Delta-8-THC, which has commonly been described as "marijuana-lite" or "diet weed."

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Here’s where new pot shops are expected to open in Chicago — and the location of every other dispensary in Illinois [MAP]

Illinois now has 110 dispensaries licensed to sell recreational pot — more than ever before — after state regulators issued a slew of permits in recent weeks ahead of a critical deadline.

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Illinois weed sales hit new high of $109 million in March

Based on the first three months this year, total recreational sales in 2021 are on pace to cross $1 billion.

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Any amount of pot — even a semitruck full — would be legal to possess under bill advancing in Springfield

The bill would lift restrictions limiting pot possession to 30 grams and would expunge all past convictions for possession or delivery dating back to 1970.

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Pritzker signs bills aimed at economic access, equity in employment, contracts, cannabis industry: ‘Hope is in the air’

The governor signed four bills that were part of the Black Caucus’ legislative agenda aimed at addressing economic equity in the state.

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Hard pass: Pot smokers won’t get vaccine priority

Officials on Thursday confirmed that even though cigarette smokers can now get shots, weed tokers aren’t eligible despite potentially facing a higher risk of falling seriously ill.

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‘An important day for cannabis equity in Illinois:’ New bill aims to address flawed licensing rollout, add 115 pot shop permits

State Rep. La Shawn Ford framed the planned bill as the next step in ensuring Illinois meets its goal of diversifying the white-dominated weed industry. But he acknowledged that work won’t be complete until "Black and brown people start making money."

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State’s ex-pot regulators, pols are cashing in on the exploding industry. A proposed crackdown won’t stop all of them.

With lawmakers and former regulators benefiting off legal cannabis, state Rep. Marty Moylan has introduced legislation that would prevent some public officials from profiting directly.

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Pot pills, Metric Coffee caramel edibles and fast-acting gummies: Here are the new products hitting shelves at Illinois dispensaries

So far this year, cultivators looking to feed Illinois’ growing need for legal weed have flooded pot shops with everything from THC-laced pills to artisanal edibles to a weed label focused on "high-fashion and luxury."

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Chicago weed giant illegally took pot to Arkansas in Whole Foods salad containers, federal suit claims

An employee of Verano Holdings allegedly took the marijuana on a commercial flight, the suit filed in Colorado says. Verano calls the claims "totally false and absurd."

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Daily weed sales hit $2.88 million in February, a new high

Illinois dispensaries are on pace to sell over $1 billion worth of recreational pot products in 2021.

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Weed St. dispensary workers slam ‘corporate overlords’ opposing unionization effort — but say it’s unclear who’s actually in charge

The Windy City Cannabis dispensary is part of Curaleaf’s $830 million of acquisition of Grassroots Cannabis. But with the deal stalled pending regulatory approval, employees say a critical question has gone unanswered: "Who is our boss?"

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Infighting erupts as minority pot shop applicants draft legislation to resolve state’s troubled cannabis licensing rollout

As a group of social equity applicants attempts to draft legislation to create new dispensary licenses, infighting over the details prompted a downtown news conference Tuesday that effectively devolved into a sparring match.

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Chicago weed giant settled racial discrimination suit claiming subsidiary’s workers made illegal deliveries to military bases

The settlement in federal court in Maryland came a month before Verano Holdings began trading publicly in Canada with a nearly $3 billion valuation.

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How a Chicago pot firm turned into a $3B behemoth in just 3 years

Verano Holdings, based on the Near North Side, is now one of the largest marijuana companies in the country after it started trading publicly in Canada last week.

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Addressing troubled cannabis licensing rollout among state’s ‘key priorities,’ Pritzker says

During Wednesday’s State of the State and budget address, Pritzker noted that "authorizing the overdue second cannabis licensing lottery" remains front of mind.

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Global accounting firm’s haul for grading pot applications jumps to $14M despite criticism over botched licensing rollout

KPMG’s two state contracts to grade cannabis applications have nearly tripled in value amid a series of licensing delays, some of which have been directly or indirectly tied to the firm.

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Chicago pot giants GTI, Verano quietly team up in joint venture

Rickey Hendon, a former state senator and current dispensary applicant, complained that the deal runs counter to the state’s equity goals and "helps to create the monopoly that we’re trying to get away from."

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Pot firm’s co-founder settles suit alleging he created ‘toxic working environment,’ used company secrets for new venture

Joseph Caltabiano denied allegations he engaged in a "litany of misconduct" as he helped build Cresco Labs into a multi-state behemoth in the lawsuit filed Jan. 29.

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South Dakota judge rejects amendment legalizing marijuana

Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled the measure approved by voters in November violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments deal with just one subject.

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Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle

Heavy rains during last year’s hurricane season pummeled marijuana fields that were later scorched in the drought that followed, causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses, according to farmers who cultivate pot outside the legal system.

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Lawmaker pushes to create new pot shop licenses — just weeks after similar effort went up in smoke

A draft bill prepared by Rep. La Shawn Ford and shared with the Sun-Times would create up to 110 new dispensary licenses.

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Illinois dispensaries sold record $88 million in January after massive first year of recreational weed sales

January sales outpaced the more than $86 million reported in December.

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‘Pot paradise’ on Michigan Ave.? Mayor rebuffs plan to allow weed shops in heart of downtown

"My concern about the effect on the shopping and tourists jewel of our city really hasn’t changed one wit since the fall of 2019, when we first started wrestling with this issue," Lightfoot said Wednesday.

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Following months of delays, state again moves forward with new cannabis licensing

The move follows criticism from applicants of color who have lambasted the governor and other officials for falling behind in diversifying the state’s overwhelmingly white weed industry.

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Cannabis taxes fund $31.4 million in state grants to groups helping poor communities

The grants, which go to 81 community organizations, result from the law legalizing adult-use marijuana in Illinois. It requires 25% of pot tax revenues help communities suffering from economic disinvestment, violence, and the multilayered harm of disparate weed enforcement.

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North Side state senator to resign after helping pass landmark social legislation: It’s time for ‘fresh eyes and fresh energy’

State Sen. Heather Steans said it’s "been the privilege of a lifetime to represent the most diverse Senate district in the State of Illinois" and it’s "time to pass the baton."

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Bill creating 75 more pot shops dies in Springfield, yet another failure in bid to diversify white weed industry

Illinois lawmakers have again come up short in helping owners of color open cannabis dispensaries in Illinois.

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Wisconsin police monitor recreational marijuana in Illinois

A 2017 report on the effect legal recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington had on neighboring states found "a sharp increase in marijuana possession arrests in border counties." But checks with police along the Illinois-Wisconsin state line have shown no such rise, so far.

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Pritzker marks New Year’s Eve by expunging nearly half a million marijuana arrest records, pardoning thousands more

The process to expunge the records have been completed at the state level but are still being processed by county clerks.