The cannabis coordinator of Chicago, Paul Stewart, came out ahead of recreational sales to announce the policies around recreational cannabis in the city. Recreational sales are scheduled to begin in the New Year on January 1st of 2020 within each medical cannabis dispensary in Chicago. The city has 11 medical cannabis dispensaries, mainly located in the North Side, which will all partake in the new recreational sales of cannabis. More dispensaries will open after the state issues additional cannabis business licenses and is expected to start the process on May 1st of 2020. It is also expected that the city of Chicago will open more dispensaries in 12 to 18 months. The city has seven cannabis districts with a cap limit of seven dispensaries in each district.
It is expected that long lines of eager customers will appear on New Year’s Day and that a product shortage is likely as well. However, with a priority focus on medical cannabis patients, the shortage of cannabis products won’t be felt by those who consume medical cannabis with a medical cannabis prescription. Chicago’s cannabis coordinator feels that the biggest challenge won’t be the supply and demand of recreational cannabis, but the educational aspects of the do’s and don’ts of cannabis consumption.
Paul Stewart, Cannabis Coordinator for Chicago, stated: “You can only consume cannabis in private locations. You cannot consume cannabis on the public way, on streets or sidewalks, or public parks.” There is a policy in place for police to issue a fine for offenders who consume cannabis in public spaces. The first offense of cannabis consumption in a public area is a $50 fine, the second offence is increased to a $100 fine.
The transportation of cannabis in a vehicle is not illegal, with specific stipulations, but the operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis is illegal.
“It does have to be in a sealed, odor-proofed, child-resistant container as you transport place to place,” said Stewart.
Cannabis transportation across state lines is illegal and shouldn’t be taken out of the state through the airport or vehicle. O’Hare and Midway’s TSA agents have amnesty boxes to place cannabis products.
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