When Separate Equals Hungry

A 2-part feature exploring food insecurity.

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Toker Takeover

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Ready to blaze? Grab your hemp wraps, bongs and pens because the tokers takeover is here! Every year cannabis connoisseurs gather to catch a vibe. Illinois is in its fourth year of adult recreational use and while there are still some hurdles to cross. The state's industry has celebrated some wins and the cannabis community has suffered some losses. Most notable was the appointment of Erin A. Johnson late 2022 to serve as the Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer. Johnson’s appointment was welcoming news to advocates and entrepreneurs, the position was previously held by Toi Hutchinson followed by Danielle Perry whose diverse experience in urban agriculture, hard to hire communities along with ties to police oversight was seen as a unique skill set for the challenges legal cannabis face.

Illinois also welcomed its first independent Black owned dispensary. Located in Logan Square Grasshopper Club (2551 N. Milwaukee Ave.) opened its doors Black History Month 2023. State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D - Chicago) announced a working group led by Illinois House Democrats to focus on social equity and policy reforms to support the businesses. Just last year on 4/20 Rise Dispensaries opened  the metro area's first consumption lounge at 1325 Armour Blvd. There were wins in the craft grow area too, CEO Victoria Williams of Star Budz opened in October of 2022 in Rockford, Illinois.

Despite the firsts there is still a way to go. Craft growers in the state are finding novel ways to secure capital. Federal legalization reduces access to bank loans, further stressing the role of banking inequity to the revitalization of the state's Black economy.

“With the recent passing of the Godfather of modern cannabis research, this 420 I’m celebrating the advances his team contributed. I appreciate the opportunity their research afforded scientists like myself. I now have a lifetime career in cannabis,” shared researcher Steven C. Philpott Jr., Environmental Biologist/Cannabis Researcher

Raphael Mechoulam passed away at 92 years old and was the scientist who discovered THC. His work is the foundation from which all other cannabis research flows.

The federal government is still somewhat in the throes of validating cannabis research for itself. While much attention has been given to marijuana the U.S. Farm Bill and hemp has had its own revisions. In February the Drug Enforcement Agency determined delta-8 THC to be an illegal controlled substance. Despite the federal changes businesses like Wake-N-Bakery, “Chicago’s original cannabis infused bakery and coffee shop” is still open for operation and seemingly unphased. As policies are enacted to be in compliance, Erin Johnson, advocates and the delta-8 entrepreneurs have much to negotiate.

What is non negotiable for some is celebrating 4/20 with friends. Saturday April 22nd Cannabis Equity Coalition is hosting it’s 4th Anniversary Fundraiser and Recognition Celebration at The Athletic Club on 12 S. Michigan Ave.

Strangefruit is hosting their 3rd annual 420 POPUP at a private location (in the Logan Square neighborhood with food, a cash bar, vendors and live entertainment. Scan the QR code for more details on tickets and use the code 420VETERAN for a $15 discount on tickets.

Maybe you want a little more creativity. Check out the 420 Puff Paint and Sip located at 8727 S. Commercial hosted by Tini Boutique, find out more information on Eventbrite.

NuEra is having a parking lot party with swag giveaways and more at their 1308 West North Avenue location from noon - 6pm on 4/20. FREE Eats from Cevapcici Chicago, courtesy of Verano, LIVE Glass Blowing and items by Essex Glass courtesy of GrassRoots and entertainment by COFRESI, DJ Gemini Jones and more. NOTHING IS FOR SALE and the event is for educational purposes only and 21+ note SOCIAL CONSUMPTION AT OR NEAR nuEra locations is NOT allowed.

Get your ganja and giggles on at Chronic Laughs brought to you by OZONE, AIRO, Edie Parker, Lincoln Lodge and SESH, Tuesday 4/25 7pm-10pm. Tickets are $20 follow them on IG @chroniclaughscomedy.

No matter what you do remember…consuming cannabis is for adults 21+, while the smell of cannabis isn’t a reason for a police to stop you in your vehicle you can still get a citation for driving under the influence and smoking and driving is illegal in Illinois, finally public consumption is prohibited and yes you can still receive a citation for consuming cannabis outside on public streets and in parks. Consume responsibly and Happy Holidaze!

Correction: The 4/12 edition of Cannabis Corner misspelled the name of Owner/CEO of Herblo Cannabis Company Taronda Ransom

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About Author:

Dr. Mila Marshall is an environmental professional and journalist with a passion for advancing sustainability in all sectors. Her passion is directed towards urban food systems in segregated cities.



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