The Challenges of Growing Medical Cannabis in Illinois
Medical Cannabis Patients in Illinois fought and won the ability to grow and cultivate their own cannabis on Jan 1st, 2020. With a limited supply of strains and supply, the patients were excited to dive into cultivation and jump on the #growyourown trend. With the lack of legal growing infrastructure and direction from the state, this has led to confusion for patients on optimal ways to grow and even obtain that knowledge. This lack of information continues to bottleneck in Illinois and has created a gap for content creators to educate and empower patients. The purpose of this article is to start a dialogue and create discussion on how to improve the process and education for other states who are enacting similar laws for their communities. Most older patients are not ingrained in cannabis culture so highlighting these limitations is key to making a more inclusive and robust growing culture.
WHERE CAN I LEGALLY GROW IN ILLINOIS?
Currently, only legal medical cannabis patients can grow in a locked or enclosed space in their primary residence. This limits Illinois growers to only indoor cultivation and requires the cannabis plant to be out of outside view. Patients with access to a shed or greenhouse are in compliance with this rule as long as the building is locked and on the primary residence. Outside cultivation is not allowed at all. The penalty for an illegal grow according to the official IDPH website is around $100-$200.
Patients can have a maximum of 5 cannabis plants in their homes over 5 inches. This has required patients to become more creative with their setups. Stay tuned to Skunk Magazine for a follow up article on the Ogafropuff Medical Grow Setup.
Based on the current rules in Illinois, only patients with permission from their landlords or own their own homes can legally grow. The penalty of $200 is for anyone else who is caught growing unlawfully. Unfortunately, similar to the lack of consumption lounges this issue disproportionately impacts minorities and lower income patients. For renting medical patients, this blocks them from safely being able to cultivate their medicine.
According to the official website for the IDPH, patients can only purchase seeds from their dispensary for cultivation. It is unclear in the bill if patients are able to use online seed banks. Various online forums debated the issue and some seasoned members of the Illinois Medical Cannabis community were able to provide resources to patients for seed banks. Note: For legalities sake, grows published on my website are depicting plants from seeds found in 8ths in legal purchases from the dispensary (more details of my grow coming soon).
LACK OF EDUCATION
There is definitely not a streamlined space for new growers to educate themselves on cultivating cannabis. While patients are legally able to grow, most Illinois dispensaries do not have classes or resources for patients interested in that information. Similar to the section on seeds, patients have been forced to go through seed banks, other patients, or forgo growing altogether due to a fear of buying seeds online. For those of us immersed in cannabis culture before becoming patients, we have the ability to navigate through the community and seek out resources accordingly. For others, this option is not readily available and while some groups including the Illinois Medical Cannabis Group have provided those resources, this is a state created issue. If the state is allowing patients to grow their own, there must be systems and structures in place to provide that education to the people. Hopefully as more patients show an interest in growing, there will be more inclusive educational opportunities provided to them from the professionals and educators dedicated to the health of the plant.
For 2021, advocates and growing proponents want more access for patients of all growing capacities to have better growing educational directives. Alongside that, patients are seeking more access to seeds at their local dispensaries to create an easier growing experience. If you have questions about growing in Illinois there will be resources linked below for creators and organizations helping in the education of patients in Illinois.
Make sure to check out: ogafropuff.com