Tag Archives: Illinois

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‘Embarrassingly Low’ Patient Count in Illinois a Big Concern for MMJ Businesses

By John Schroyer

Scores of dispensaries are hoping to open in Illinois later this year, but they might face an immense challenge right out of the gate: a lack of customers.

Illinois has approved just 2,500 patients for MMJ cards since opening the registry nearly nine months ago, which one attorney with ties to the medical marijuana industry called “embarrassingly low.” That’s a far cry from the state’s initial estimate of 75,000 potential patients and much less than many entrepreneurs had expected at this point.

To be sure, Illinois likely will see a surge in patient numbers as dispensaries launch, as has happened in other states. And officials appear close to approving new qualifying medical conditions, which will certainly boost the patient base.

But the numbers to date are so low that several insiders are worried about the future of the state’s entire MMJ industry.

“It’s a huge, huge problem,” said Michael Mayes, CEO of Chicago-based MMJ consultancy Quantum 9. “With the lack of patients into the registry, businesses will suffer greatly… and may even go out of business due to the lack of a market. If all the cultivation centers have all this product, the supply goes way up, and if demand is so low, there’ll be pricing wars.”

Under Illinois law, the medical cannabis program will ultimately license 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivators, so the patient count will have to be in the tens of thousands in order to support all those businesses.

Furthermore, Mayes said he’s “incredibly worried” that the low patient count could actually jeopardize the future of the entire industry because Illinois’ MMJ system is set up as a pilot program that will expire at the end of 2017. If the state doesn’t get enough in tax revenue, or if the program isn’t as widespread and successful as many originally expected it to be, then longstanding opposition to the program (from Gov. Bruce Rauner, for instance) could torpedo an extension.

The low patient count has already led at least one company to turn a cultivation license it won back over to the state, and if the customer base doesn’t expand, other licensees could follow suit.

Factors at Play

There are several issues in Illinois that are likely combining to drive down the current patient count. For one thing, since no dispensaries are yet open and no MMJ available to patients, many potential recipients probably haven’t bothered to undertake the mountain of paperwork necessary to qualify for the state registry.

“The patient needs to complete an application, they need to pay a fee, they have to get fingerprinted, and they need to get a doctor to certify them,” said Brad Zerman, owner of Seven Point, a dispensary that’s slated to open in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park sometime this fall. “It’s quite a process.”

Also, similar to what’s happening in Minnesota, a reluctance on the part of many physicians to recommend cannabis for their patients may also be playing a role in the low turnout, said Julie Stone, co-founder of the Cannabis Association of Illinois.

“It’s all so new that the physicians don’t feel there’s enough concrete information,” Stone said. “Physicians aren’t on board, and without them, it makes it even more challenging for a patient to feel comfortable talking about it… It’s all kind of a big Catch-22.”

Mayes said another big obstacle is a lack of accessibility for a lot of patients with ailments that don’t qualify them for MMJ.

He noted that the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board last month recommended adding 11 more medical conditions to the state’s list for those who can receive MMJ, but that recommendation hasn’t been approved by the director of the department of health yet. A spokeswoman for the agency said she expects the list will get the green light by the end of July.

“The program will fail if a lot of these conditions aren’t added, and if the patient registry requirements aren’t loosened up a little bit,” Mayes said.

What Can be Done

Zerman, Stone and others are concentrating on public outreach and educational campaigns for both patients and physicians as to the medical benefits of cannabis, and are hoping that will help bolster patient numbers as the months wear on.

“We’re doing a lot of outreach in the area where our dispensary is going to be. We’re contacting doctors to educate them as to how cannabis can be used effectively as part of a treatment program,” said Zerman. “We’re also providing seminars for patients and prospective patients to learn more about the same subject.”

For example, Zerman said, his team is coordinating a free monthly informational seminar on MMJ in the Oak Park Library, which is open to all. One was held Wednesday evening this week, he said.

Stone said more dispensaries probably need to take similar steps to what Zerman’s working on.

“I know that some dispensaries are working on facilitating patients signing up, and what I hope is that they all will start putting energy into that,” Stone said. “It’s ultimately going to be their clients, so it’s in their benefit. They may have more time than cultivators right now.”

Possibly even a larger problem, however, is that the required fingerprinting and federal background check for the patient registry is a major disincentive for potential MMJ recipients.

“The fingerprinting and felony background checks are just killing the program,” Mayes said. That will have to be fixed by the state Legislature, Mayes said, and it’s unclear if any such attempt will be undertaken next year.

Stone, Zerman and Mayes also all agreed that once dispensaries begin to actually open their doors and start serving the public, more patients will flock to the program.

“Nobody really believes it until the first dispensary opens. At that point, patients will come. The patients are here, it’s a matter of getting them registered,” Stone said.

When that may be, however, is still very much up in the air. The general consensus is that dispensaries will likely start opening either in the fall or early winter this year.

John Schroyer can be reached at johns@mjbizmedia.com

Marijuana cash is problem for Illinois tax collection

Updated: Jun 19, 2015 10:22 AM CST

CHICAGO (Associated Press) – The state of Illinois is having trouble finding a bank or financial company to process the large amounts of cash it anticipates receiving for taxes and fees from its new medical marijuana industry.

The state received no response to a solicitation published last fall. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has started a formal process to find out why.

The legal marijuana industry tends to operate with cash only. Experts say banks and credit card companies are wary because the federal government considers marijuana an illegal drug.

The Illinois treasurer is asking the financial industry for input by June 29. An armored car services requirement has been deleted from the new draft because it was "believed to be a deterrent to proposals."

Continue Reading…,

Lexology Report: Congress temporarily de-funds US-DOJ medical marijuana prosecution but does not legalize medical marijuana

  • Littler Mendelson
  • Dale L. Deitchler

     

    • USA
    • December 30 2014

     

    Dale L. Deitchler Author page »

    In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes.  The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:

    Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld prosecution of medical marijuana growers and users under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, as a matter of policy, has directed the DOJ to take a relaxed approach to prosecution and the DOJ has done so, except for use that impacts the DOJ’s “enforcement priorities” (e.g., preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels).  This new de-funding measure now codifies that policy approach as law.  (Notably, the rider does not affect IRS or Treasury Department actions relating to payment of taxes by marijuana suppliers and online banking).

    The legislation, however, does not legalize medical marijuana.  Rather, the federal ban on marijuana continues – i.e., both medical and recreational marijuana continue to be illegal under CSA Schedule I.  And, though de-funding may affect enforcement of criminal laws in states with medical marijuana statutes, it has no effect in states that have not legalized marijuana, nor does it express any limitations on employer action on the basis of a positive marijuana test result administered under a workplace drug testing policy.  Finally, the rider expires on September 30, 2015, and may or may not be renewed heading into the heart of the presidential election campaign in the fall of 2015.  For all of these reasons, though significant in reflecting current legislators’ thinking at the national level regarding CSA enforcement, the mere enactment of the spending bill with this provision does not warrant adjustment to drug testing policies of employers choosing to continue to treat confirmed positive marijuana test results as positive even when the result was caused by medicinal use that is lawful under state or local law.

    CONTINUE READING…

  • Federal Spending Bill Blocks Funding For Medical Marijuana Raids, Legalization In D.C.

    The proposed congressional budget released Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to undermine state laws regarding medical marijuana.

    posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 9:20 p.m.

    Michelle Broder Van Dyke BuzzFeed News Reporter

     

    The House budget passed Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere with state laws that legalize medical marijuana.

    The amendment was introduced by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat, and was approved by the House of Representatives in May. It implies that DEA raids on medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal will stop.

    The budget Senate proposal — which must still go back to the House for a full vote before it lands on President Obama’s desk — would keep all but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operating normally through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.

    The compromise bill was approved with Republicans agreeing to put off a fight with Obama over his immigration policies until February, when funding for the DHS is slated to run out, the Associated Press reported.

    The bill’s Section 538, which addresses medical marijuana, reads:

    None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    The bill also includes a section that protects industrial hemp cultivation.

    None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (”Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

    Marijuana advocates were pleased with the bill.

    Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said in statement to BuzzFeed News: “Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference.”

    Angell also urged the Obama administration to use this opportunity to “reschedule marijuana immediately.” Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s a dangerous narcotic with no accepted medical use. Heroin and LSD are also classified Schedule I, while cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II, a lower ranking.

    Advocates say reclassifying the drug would allow for state and federal laws to be in sync, and conserve law enforcement resources. It would also ease access to research of the drug and tension between banks and marijuana retailers.

    Erik Altieri, communication director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also released a statement that said: “By restricting these agencies in this manner, the nearly two dozen states that implemented medical marijuana programs can hopefully breathe easier knowing federal money won’t be spent to interfere with their progress. We hope this leads to further reforms at the federal level further enshrining this sentiment into law.”

    The bill also effectively blocks the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C., but preserves its decriminalization law.

    Voters in Washington, D.C., overwhelmingly passed a recreational marijuana referendum on the November ballot, which is now effectively blocked. The District passed a decriminalization bill in April that will remain intact.

    The proposed bill’s appropriations section, which allocates millions in funds to the district, states:

    “None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”

    Unlike most states, Washington, D.C., doesn’t take in any local revenue that it can spend and receives all of its funding from the federal government, so the ban on using funds for legalization effectively blocks the referendum voters recently passed.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said of the rider: “I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do.”

    “If they put it in there, it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he added.

    Marijuana advocates in Washington D.C. and those who advocate for the district’s autonomy were not pleased. D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which sponsored the ballot measure to legalize weed, tweeted the following:

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    State, Insiders Stand to Benefit From Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Law

    Hilary Gowins Become a fan

    Writer/editor, Illinois Policy Institute

    Posted: 06/20/2014 5:52 pm EDT

     

     

    Illinois became the 20th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana in July 2013. But the Illinois law, which allows for a four-year medical marijuana pilot program, could be the next big windfall for cronyism in the state.

    Political favoritism may already be cropping up in Illinois’ newly established medical marijuana industry, and barriers to entry could be steep as the state may impose hefty application and permit fees.

    Competition to become established in Illinois’ medical marijuana business is stiff. Under the pilot program created by the new state law, Illinois will allow only 60 marijuana dispensaries and 22 growing centers.

    This industry is expected to mean big money for those who land much-coveted business rights — last year, California’s medical marijuana sales were $1 billion. And in Illinois, a state notorious for corrupt insider dealings, the politically connected often get first dibs.

    Those wanting a shot at one of the precious few dispensary and growing center slots are already jockeying for position. Anyone wanting to open one of these businesses must submit the name of the business, proposed location, relevant agricultural experience and much more information.

    One person seeking medical marijuana registration from the state is Sam Borek, a former college roommate of Lou Lang, the state representative who sponsored Illinois’ medical marijuana law. According to CBS St. Louis, Borek has reserved at least three-dozen marijuana-related business names.

    A friend of the governor is trying to get in on the action as well.

    Chicagoan David Rosen, who was Gov. Pat Quinn’s chief fundraiser in 2010, plans to open a medical marijuana business in Nevada called "Waveseer" — and interestingly enough, he has also registered the same business name in Illinois.

    Ultimately, the state will have the sole authority to decide the businesses it feels are best suited to operate under the new state law, and that will leave open the possibility for lawmakers to grant special favors to those applicants who are politically connected.

    And any applicants who do receive registration through the state will have to comply with numerous regulations.

    Under proposed regulations for the pilot program, the state would require dispensaries to pay a $5,000 nonrefundable application fee, a $30,000 permit fee and a $25,000 in annual permit renewal fee. Anyone wanting a dispensary permit will also have to show proof of $50,000 in escrow or bonds.

    The application fee for growing centers is even steeper, at $25,000. Growing centers also have to pay a $200,000 fee after its permit is approved, plus a $100,000 renewal fee. Applicants would also have to prove that they have $2 million in escrow or bonds.

    And if owners want to make changes to their business, there could be a fee for that, too.

    Under the proposed regulations, the state could charge growing centers $1,000 to change their business name, to alter stock ownership or change principal officers.

    These hefty fees certainly limit the number of people who can afford to open a business in a booming industry.

    Given the level of state involvement in Illinois’ medical marijuana industry, it’s not hard to imagine opportunities for corruption. So as marijuana-related business licenses begin to roll out of Springfield, Illinoisans would be wise to pay attention to who’s reaping the benefits.

    Follow Hilary Gowins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hilarygowins

    CONTINUE READING…

    30 Members Of Congress Demand Increased Access To Marijuana For Research Purposes

     

     

     Matt Ferner

     Become a fan

     Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

     

    MEDICAL MARIJUANA

    Thirty members of Congress, led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Tuesday demanding an end to the federal monopoly on marijuana research so that more studies can be done by scientists around the nation.

    “We write to express our support for increasing scientific research on the therapeutic risks and benefits of marijuana,” the letter reads. “We ask that you take measures to ensure that any non-National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded researcher who has acquired necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and appropriate state and local authority approval be able to access marijuana for research at-cost without further review.” (Read the full text of the letter below.)

    The letter comes about two weeks after the House voted to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws, a measure that Rohrabacher sponsored.

    And just last week, a scathing joint report from the Drug Policy Alliance and and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies blasted the DEA, arguing that the agency has repeatedly failed to act in a timely fashion when faced with petitions to reschedule marijuana.

    The drug is currently illegal under federal law, and remains classified as a Schedule I substance, a designation the DEA reserves for the “most dangerous” drugs with “no currently accepted medical use.” Schedule I drugs, which include substances like heroin and LSD, cannot receive federal funding for research. On three separate occasions — in 1973, 1995 and 2002 — the DEA took years to make a final decision about a rescheduling petition, and in two of those cases the DEA was sued multiple times to force a decision.

    Last week’s report criticized the DEA for overruling its own officials charged with determining how illicit substances should be scheduled. It also accused the agency of creating a “regulatory Catch-22” by arguing there is not enough scientific evidence to support rescheduling marijuana — while simultaneously impeding the research that would produce such evidence.

    “Two weeks ago, we took a very important vote in the House to stop the DEA from interfering in states’ medical marijuana programs,” Blumenauer said in a statement Tuesday. “Now we need the Administration to stop targeting marijuana above and beyond other drugs when it comes to research. By increasing access for scientists who are conducting studies, we end the Catch-22 of opponents claiming they can’t support medical marijuana because there’s not enough research, but blocking research because they don’t support medical marijuana.”

    The U.S. government grows marijuana for research purposes at the University of Mississippi in the only federally legal marijuana garden in the U.S. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of these crops — a process through which the only federally-sanctioned marijuana studies are approved.

    Federal authorities have long been accused of only funding marijuana research that focuses on the potential negative effects of the drug. Since 2003, more than 500 grants for marijuana-related studies have received federal approval, with a marked upswing in recent years, according to McClatchy. Only 22 grants were approved in 2003 for cannabis research, totaling $6 million, but in 2012, 69 grants were approved for a total of over $30 million.

    Despite these numbers, NIDA has reportedly conducted only about 30 studies to date on the potential benefits of marijuana, according to The Hill.

    Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Eight other states — Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin — have legalized CBD oil, a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that is frequently used to treat epilepsy, for limited medical use or for research purposes.

    A number of studies in recent years have shown the medical potential of cannabis. Purified forms may attack some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. One study found that legalization of the plant for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates.

    Read the full letter below:

    CONTINUE READING….

    Illinois’ Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Could Squeeze Out Small Businesses

    Proposed Illinois Medical Marijuana Rules Marijuana Illinois Marijuana Laws Medical Marijuana Illinois Medical Marijuana Rules Illinois Medical Marijuana Proposed Rules Chicago News

     

    Main Entry Image

     

     

    Medical marijuana regulations recently proposed in Illinois could be a major buzzkill for the state’s entrepreneurs and other small business owners.

    Under the proposal from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, legal pot businesses would need approximately half a million dollars in startup costs. The program would require pot dispensaries to pay a $5,000 nonrefundable application fee, show proof of $400,000 in assets, pay a $30,000 permit fee and fork over a $25,000 yearly permit renewal fee.

    Cultivation centers would be required to pony up a $25,000 nonrefundable application fee, prove they have $250,000 in liquid assets, pay a $200,000 fee once the permit is approved and pay a $100,000 renewal fee.

    Additionally, local governments would be able to charge their own dispensary and cultivation center fees.

    "Probably 50 percent of the wannabes are now out," Joseph Friedman, a suburban Chicago pharmacist hoping to opening a dispensary, told the Chicago Tribune. "This is going to bring out just the serious players who are well-capitalized and well-credentialed."

    Regulators have been slowly hammering out the various rules for potential users, growers and dispensary vendors since the state’s medical weed law — the strictest in the nation — went into effect earlier this year. Medical marijuana advocates worry the new proposals for dispensaries and cultivation centers could price out suffering patients and ultimately threaten the success of the nascent pilot program.

    "This program was designed, proposed and passed to help sick people," Dan Linn, the executive director of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), told The Huffington Post. "But now it seems the state has wrapped itself up in the bureaucracy and this is all going to be on the backs of sick people."

    Linn said the some of the high regulation fees will help keep the pilot program cost-neutral for the state and also weed out "the perceived trouble makers" hoping to get rich quick in the medical marijuana gold rush.

    The downside, Linn said, is what he calls the "trickle-down" cost to medical marijuana patients. "A lot them are sick and on disability and can’t afford the [high price of] legal medical marijuana. You’ll see patients who sign up for a card and never use it."

    Linn notes that if the fees are passed on to customers and medical weed becomes significantly more expensive than that on the street, dispensaries and clinics won’t have enough business. "Ultimately," he said, "that could make or break this program."

    Real estate is shaping up to be another challenge for potential medical marijuana businesses, with local governments in the Chicagoland area tinkering with zoning laws that could restrict pot businesses’ already limited options.

    Other proposed regulations would require medical marijuana patients to be fingerprinted, undergo a background check and pay $150 yearly fee for a special photo ID card, the Associated Press reports.

    Regulators will take public input on the proposals until Feb. 27.

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    Illinois cannabis patients cannot be discriminated against by employers

     

     

    Blueberry Gum2

     

    On December 10th the National Law Review

    published an article written by Vedder Price in which

    they give some clarification of the Illinois Medical

    Marijuana Law.

    On august 1, 2013 Governor Pat Quinn signed the

    “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot

    Program Act”.

    One of the most disturbing provisions to me is the

    fact that a patient CANNOT grow their own medicine. 

    It must be dispensed (and paid for) at a legally

    licensed dispensary.

    However, one good thing that is included in the

    “Act” was in regards to an employment related

    issue. Under the “Act” it would be unlawful to

    discriminate against an employee or applicant based

    upon their medical cannabis use, provided is legally

    prescribed and obtained.

    It would seem that legalization has opened up doors

    in all commerce ventures across the country and

    worldwide.  The problem is the legalization itself has

    opened up a whole new door for criminalization.

    As the product of “Cannabis” is patented, grown,

    produced, sold and exchanged over the stock

    market all around the world, the doors of the new

    prisons will be opening for those of us who might

    not choose to abide by their “growing standards”.

    Each state law is markedly different and continuously

    changing amid the stress of a newly marketed item. 

    But the bottom line is legalization equals regulation

    and taxation which we are seeing now amid the

    hustle and bustle of the “legalizing states”.

    There will indeed be much money to be made. 

    Jobs will be created.  People will have access to

    Cannabis – IF deemed necessary by thier doctor,

    and the “law”.

    Just like the opiate wars which we are living in every

    day, which would include all Pharmaceutical Opiates

    which are marketed through Pharmacy’s and

    regulated by law therefore creating a black market

    for them by law of supply and demand (via

    addiction), so will the war on Cannabis continue,

    long after it is “legal”.  The only difference is that the

    Cannabis is not addictive like other opiates and that

    is and will continue to be the saving factor in this

    rude scenario of “legalization”.

    Below are some links of information on the legalization process.

     

    HALF BAKED:  THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONFLICTS OF LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA  (2012)

    THE NATIONAL LAW REVIEW (2013)

    FINDLAW.COM

    Illinois man charged with selling hallucinogenic mushrooms faces 20 years in prison

    mushrooms

     

    PORTAGE — A Glencoe, Ill., man is accused of selling $180 worth of psychedelic mushrooms to undercover officers Aug. 29.

    Mark Edward Mikolajczyk, 33, now faces up to 20 years in prison on a Class B felony of dealing drugs and has also been charged two misdemeanors, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

    An informant told the Porter County Drug Task Force that he knew of someone who dealt in “molly,” also known as Ecstasy, and psilocybin mushrooms.

    Mikolajczyk told undercover agents he was out of “molly” but drove to Portage to deliver the mushrooms.

    Portage police pulled him over after the deal and found the money used to buy the drugs (serial numbers had been recorded so the cash could be tracked), as well as another $703 and the marijuana.

    CONTINUE READING…