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All About Recreational Cannabis in Illinois


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While historically a taboo subject among Chicagoans, cannabis is now celebrated as a safe and effective way to relax and tap into all your senses. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of all the states in the Union. In fact, one of the many (many) reasons our budtenders, support staff, and owners consider ourselves so fortunate to call the Chicago area home is that the state of Illinois is now at the forefront of the cannabis movement.

Perhaps even more importantly, Illinois is leading the social charge in today’s cannabis movement. We are ecstatic that the state has begun issuing social equity cannabis licenses and are proud to be recognized as one of the first recreational dispensaries in the state to achieve social equity licensure. This work goes hand-in-hand with Illinois’ initiative to eliminate lasting criminal repercussions for acts that are now legal under new recreational cannabis laws.

As the area’s first recreational-only dispensary, our goal is to help you feel good—both about the sensory experience you’re about to embark upon as well as our commitment to bringing cannabis enthusiasts of all persuasions into the cozy confines of Ivy Hall. For many, that begins well before you commence inhaling that intoxicating aroma. We believe cannabis education can be a crucial component of an absolutely freeing cannabis journey.

To help, we’ve created this compendium of Illinois cannabis information to inspire you to build your knowledge base and learn a bit more about why we love bringing recreational cannabis to Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.

Cannabis in Illinois: A Brief

Cannabis has been legal for recreational sale and use in Illinois since January 1, 2020. This means that adults aged 21 and over can possess, purchase, and consume cannabis products in the state. At the time, the decision was reflective of the continuing progression of cannabis legalization across the US and many other countries.

Of course, this decision was not made recklessly. Cannabis Sativa L. is a plant that has been used for centuries for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. These properties are due to a unique compound known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for its psychoactive effects—also known as the “good” you feel after you indulge in an edible, dab, or smoking session. Before 2020, concentrations of THC over 0.3% rendered the plant ineligible for sale or use. That year, Illinois became the first state to legalize the recreational sale of cannabis by legislative action.

With this second round of provisional recreational licenses, the state focused on social-equity applicants, a move geared towards making the cannabis industry in Illinois much more equitable than other states. Ivy Hall is proud to be among one of the first social-equity applicants in the state to achieve full recreational licensure. With licensure, we join other majority Black-owned dispensaries in the push to ensure other members of our community can benefit from this extraordinary plant.

Improving Illinois Communities with Cannabis

Best of all, as a part of the new legislation, Illinois will expunge qualifying minor cannabis convictions from the records of Illinois residents. Those found in possession of more than 30 grams may apply for expungement on a case-by-case basis. As these convictions disproportionately affected our fellow minority Chicagoans, this is another step forward to a more equitable cannabis scene. Now, convictions for minor possession of cannabis—something that is currently legal—will not continue to negatively impact these communities across the state.

Closely associated with this measure is the Restoring Our Communities program. The ROC program was created to provide financial assistance to communities that have traditionally struggled with disproportionate law enforcement response to minor cannabis crimes. The state looks to fund community and social action responses to help these communities instead of incarcerating and fining them.

We’ve taken our own steps to encourage equity, including partnering with some outstanding Black- and women-owned brands that contribute to worthy causes, including addressing the impact of cannabis-related incarcerations on minority communities. Now, Ivy Hall invites 21+ adults of all persuasions to experience the creature comforts found within the four walls of our neighborhood boutique.

Cannabis Laws in Illinois

We love the fact that Illinois boasts a wonderful variety of cannabis products available for purchase, including dried cannabis flower (buds), cannabis extracts, cannabis edibles, pre-rolled joints, and more. Still, it’s important to know that each product type has its own unique effects and properties, so the state has created a set of possession and purchase limits to address each of them.

Illinois allows residents to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, which translates to just over an ounce. Since THC is often more concentrated in extracts and edibles, the state allows residents to possess up to 5 grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC in edibles. Adults with medical cards can also cultivate up to 5 plants for personal use.

If you are not fortunate enough to be a resident of the state, you may still purchase cannabis products with a valid government-issued ID. However, there are additional possession restrictions for non-residents. Non-residents may not possess more than 15 grams of dried flower, or a half ounce, at any given time. They are also restricted to 2.55 grams of concentrate and 250 milligrams of THC in edibles.

It is essential to understand that cannabis products are only legal when purchased at licensed dispensaries in the state. Additionally, cannabis consumption is only allowed in private residences or establishments that the state has approved. That’s why it’s so important to us here at Ivy Hall to create a comfortable yet sophisticated environment that welcomes all for legal cannabis purchases.

What Consequences Are There for the Misuse of Cannabis?

Though the recreational use of cannabis is legal in Illinois, there are consequences that are triggered by misuse and illegal use. Some potential consequences include fines, jail time, and license revocations. Illegal cannabis use can consist of the following:

  • Illegal public consumption
  • Consumption under the legal age
  • Possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis
  • Selling or trafficking
  • Illegal cultivation
  • Intoxicated driving

It cannot be stated enough—a truly great cannabis experience begins while you are selecting your products and continues on through purchase, use, and all the desirable effects that come thereafter. Beginning your experience by browsing the cannabis offerings at our boutique dispensary and partaking in a safe, comfortable, and legal setting is an excellent way to get the most out of Ivy Hall’s top-shelf cannabis. Then, as always, be sure to refrain from driving while under the influence.

Who Can Sell Cannabis in Illinois?

Aside from ensuring only legal individuals can sell and purchase cannabis products, dispensaries also help to set lofty standards for cannabis products produced and sold in the state. Tight regulations and industry protocol ensure cannabis enthusiasts purchase only safe, high-quality cannabis products.

Legal dispensaries are required to secure the appropriate licensure from the state and adhere to strict health and safety regulations. Once approved, dispensary owners stay up to date on all laws and regulations to remain in compliance. These are designed to ensure the safe and responsible sale of cannabis products and monitor the industry.

As a premium dispensary with a mission, Ivy Hall employs only specially trained staff, or budtenders, who are extremely knowledgeable about cannabis products and their effects. Budtenders not only help you find the right product for your needs and provide advice on consumption methods, but they can also answer a vast assortment of cannabis questions. There truly are no dumb questions, so be sure to approach your budtender as you would a trusted friend.

Whether you are new to the cannabis-based sensory experience or have long enjoyed the effects of premium cannabis, you may want to ask your budtender these questions:

  • What type of cannabis product is best for my needs?
  • How should I consume this product to get the desired effect?
  • What are the potential side effects or risks of using this product?

Why Do People Use Cannabis Recreationally?

A concierge cannabis dispensary like Ivy Hall thrives upon creating a unique cannabis consumption experience for every person that enters our doors. Your preferences and desires are a primary component of that experience and influence which of many delectable products you choose. Consider whether you plan to indulge for one of these reasons:

  • Relaxation. Using cannabis can help people relax after a long day and provides an escape from stress and anxiety. This may be especially useful for those who experience chronic stress and need relief.
  • Socialization. Cannabis can help people overcome social anxiety and make it easier to connect with others. It can also provide an enjoyable activity that people can share with friends.
  • Creativity. Cannabis has been known to enhance creativity, allowing users to explore innovative ideas and think beyond the realms of everyday thought. This can open new pathways for creative expression.
  • Improved mood. Cannabis can help people feel more positive and relaxed, which makes it simpler to appreciate the sweet things in life.
  • Connection. Cannabis provides a unique way to connect with others, whether it is through sharing experiences or simply enjoying the company of trusted friends.

Forms of Cannabis Found in Illinois

One of the characteristics that make cannabis so unique is that it can be consumed in several ways, each with its own effects. This versatility is welcome for adults who want to extend the cannabis experience, as well as those searching for the right cannabis product that aligns with their lifestyle. A well-rounded cannabis selection in Illinois might contain these cannabis products:

  • Flower. Cannabis flower, also known as bud, is the most consumed form of cannabis and is typically smoked. Depending on the strain, cannabis flower contains varying levels of THC, the desirable compound that provides its signature psychoactive effects.
  • Extracts. Cannabis extracts can contain incredibly elevated levels of THC. They can be consumed through dabbing, vaping, or even mixing with flower for a more powerful effect.
  • Edibles. Cannabis edibles are cannabis-infused foods and beverages that contain THC. They can provide a potent, long-lasting high, but it takes longer to feel the effects because you must first digest your edible treat.
  • Pre-rolled joints. Pre-rolls are pre-rolled cannabis joints that are at the ready when purchased from a dispensary. They are easy to use and offer a convenient, discreet way to consume cannabis.
  • Topical products. Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, creams, and oils that can be applied directly to the skin. They may relieve pain and inflammation on a localized basis.
  • Vapes. Single-use or reusable cannabis vaporizers heat cannabis extracts to a high temperature until the extract vaporizes. Inhaling these vapors can help you achieve a powerful, lasting cannabis experience.

Elements to Consider Before Consuming Cannabis

Before consuming any cannabis product, it is crucial to consider its potential euphoric effects and side effects. Because every person reacts differently to cannabis, you must also strive to understand how it may affect you before consuming it.

Some elements you should consider include the following:

  • Dosage. Products differ wildly from one another and may mean you will need to consume a larger or smaller amount of product to achieve the effect listed on the label.
  • Potency. Products like edibles and concentrates are much more potent than cannabis flower, meaning that they induce effects with a much smaller dose.
  • Duration. How long the effects of cannabis will last can vary depending on the product, your tolerance level, and other factors.
  • Tolerance Level. Everyone has a different tolerance level for cannabis, so it is helpful to consume your cannabis in a safe, friendly place and start slowly until you understand your limits.

Using cannabis can provide many potential benefits, but it is important to remember that responsible use is necessary to avoid potential consequences. With the right information and approach, cannabis can truly be a positive sensory experience to behold.

Cannabis FAQ

While this delightful green is now legal in Illinois, people remain curious about the specifics. These are some questions our budtenders frequently field.

Q: Where Can You Use Cannabis in Illinois?

A: Though recreational cannabis is legal; you must be diligent about where you consume it. You may consume cannabis in private homes, provided that the owner or landlord has approved use on the property. Local ordinances may approve certain dispensaries for consumption on-premises. However, you cannot consume cannabis on private property without the owner’s consent, in any public place, on a front porch or sidewalk, or even in your open garage. You may not consume cannabis near individuals who are under the age of 21.

Q: Can You Use Cannabis While Driving?

A: No. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis in Illinois. This serious offense can lead to legal consequences, such as fines and/or license revocation. This is because cannabis can impair your judgment and reaction time, making it dangerous to operate a motor vehicle.

Q: If I Was Charged with a Cannabis-Related Offense in the Past, Can I Still Legally Consume Cannabis?

A: Yes. In Illinois, anyone 21 and over is legally allowed to consume cannabis, regardless of past offenses. However, this was not always the case. Because of new laws and initiatives, past convictions are no longer an issue when it comes to your ability to consume cannabis. If you have previously been convicted of a cannabis-related offense, the government will automatically review and remove any non-violent convictions for possession under 30 grams. If you were found with more than 30 grams of cannabis, there will not be an automatic review, but you can petition for court review to clear your record. Neither will impact your ability to purchase cannabis from a dispensary.

Q: Can You Grow Cannabis Legally at Home in Illinois?

A: Yes. As of 2020, anyone 21 and over is allowed to grow up to five plants in their household with a cannabis license. It is important to know that the plants must be kept in a secure and enclosed space, such as a closet or spare room. If you live in your home under a rental agreement, you must obtain written permission from the landlord before growing cannabis. It is also important to remember that you cannot sell or give away any of the cannabis that you grow. Home growing is meant for personal use only, and any other activity is illegal.

Q: Do You Sell Medical Cannabis?

A: No. Ivy Hall is exclusively a recreational dispensary. In fact, there are currently only 55 medical dispensaries in the state, and all new licenses are exclusively recreational.

Before recreational legislation, cannabis was only available to individuals with a valid doctor’s recommendation and an official Illinois medical cannabis card. Some ailments that qualified individuals for medical cannabis cards included pain management, nausea, and anxiety. As a popular alternative to traditional pharmaceutical treatments for these conditions, these types of cannabis can invoke soothing, medicinal characteristics.

By contrast, recreational cannabis is intended solely for adults 21 and over who are indulging for the purpose of leisure. Adults can purchase various products that can provide many sensory effects, including relaxation, euphoria, or even a heightened sense of creativity. Now, you can enjoy the medical and recreational benefits of cannabis without needing a medical card. Even better, you can begin your cannabis experience in a warm, friendly boutique environment instead of a sterile medical dispensary.

Enjoy Recreational Cannabis in Illinois

The changes in Illinois cannabis laws have allowed many residents to say hello once again to a comfortable old friend—their chosen cannabis product. For more information about how to make your next cannabis experience a happy one, consider visiting the budtenders at Ivy Hall. We are a concierge-level dispensary in Chicago that provides safe, reliable, yet potent cannabis products for an unparalleled sensory experience from start to finish.

Visit us today to revisit the world of cannabis.


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