Cannabis is emerging from the shadows of prohibition. Every week, there are advancements in many fields related to cannabis. Smoke Reports will be re-capping the weekly events of the cannabis community and industry, so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Get ready folks. It’s been a big one!

Illinois Begins Medical Cannabis Sales

Nearly two years after Illinois voters approved a medical cannabis program, the state finally authorized sales to begin on Monday, Nov. 9th. Last week, state officials gave the go-ahead for licensed cannabis producers to begin shipping medicine to licensed retailers. There are an estimated 3,300 cannabis patients currently registered in the Land of Lincoln.

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There are nine licensed dispensaries, but Joseph Wright, Director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, expects anywhere between 20 and 25 licensed retailers by the end of the year. One interesting piece of the Illinois medical program is that patients have to register one location as their primary retailer.

Patients can still enter and purchase from any of the dispensaries, but failure to register with a primary location kept a few folks from accessing their medicine on Monday. Here is a list of the nine dispensaries currently serving the state.

Veterans Day, the Pill Bottle Display, and the Senate’s Decision

Happy Veterans Day from the Smoke Reports team. We are proud to support safe access to cannabis medicine for everyone, however this week we have been focusing on the epidemic of former military members committing suicide due to the weight of PTSD or depression.

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Veterans have long been fighting for access to medical cannabis, but the Federal government has only responded by threatening to take away healthcare benefits of individuals registered to use medical cannabis.

On Veterans Day (Wednesday), the Cannaball Run of 2015 arrived at its final location to bring awareness to the fight for Veterans to access cannabis. The convoy from the Cannaball Run met other Veterans and support groups at the VA Headquarters in Washington D.C., and then marched down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House gates where Veterans were leaving pill bottles to protest the pharmaceutical cocktails that are currently the option for veterans with PTSD and depression.

Some very positive news regarding Veterans and cannabis did emerge this week. The Senate passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which induced an amendment that would allow VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients in states that have voted cannabis programs into effect. The Appropriations Bill now moves onto the House of Representatives for review and amending.

Hillary Weighs in on Cannabis Legislation

Cannabis is shaping up to be a major point of discussion during the Democratic presidential campaigns. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently proposed the full removal of “marihuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinol” from the Controlled Substances Act which classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug.

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Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the situation, providing an alternative approach to cannabis business and research. Clinton proposed simply re-classifying cannabis as a Schedule 2 drug, which Sen. Sanders argues does nothing to alleviate the tax issues for businesses, the rash criminalization of youths, or the negative connotations that have been associated with cannabis for the past eight decades.

DEA Chief Say Cannabis Medicine is a Joke

Earlier this week, Chuck Rosenberg, Chief Administrator for the DEA, discounted all medical benefits of cannabis, calling medical cannabis “a joke.” Of course, this is what has to be said by the chief of the agency responsible for blindly following the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for addiction and absolutely no potential for medical benefit.

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Chuck Rosenberg, A Mouth in Desperate Need of a Foot

The Federal government has been largely ignoring or impeding any clinical research that concludes any possibility that cannabis may be an effective medicine. Still, over 80% of the states of America have passed legislation addressing medical cannabis compounds to at least some degree.

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The comments sparked outrage around the cannabis community, as well as with policing agencies that were aggravated before when Rosenberg was unable to decide if cannabis was more or less dangerous than heroin. Rosenberg, who has absolutely no scientific background, is currently the chief of an organization that is still being guided by the War on Drugs.

Upcoming Cannabis Events

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Marijuana Business Conference & Expo – (Las Vegas, NV: Nov. 11-13)

Networking opportunities with 4,000 cannabis industry members. The expo floor is 30,000 square feet with cannabis-related vendors read to talk business. Over 50 expert speakers will be giving presentations and Q&A sessions on advanced cannabis topics.

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THC Fair (The Hemp and Cannabis Fair) – (Salem, OR: Nov. 14-16)

This fair is a celebration a celebration of legal cannabis! You’ll find hemp and cannabis products, accessories and tools, grow and harvest equipment and more in the amazing expo hall. Then, take in some great sessions on growing, medicinal benefits, prop 91 and more!

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PotLuck Medical Cannabis Expo – (San Diego, CA: Nov. 15)

PotLuck is the master of organizing wonderfully-themed events at enjoyable venues. Bringing together a collective energy of caregivers, organizations, advocates, artists and supporters is what this event is all about. PotLuck recognizes the value of medicinal cannabis and the aid it has brought to countless patients with varying ailments.

PotLuck events are one of the keys to the forward progress, recognition and acceptance of cannabis and its properties as a medicine in California and the rest of the country. All open-minded individuals that believe the same are encouraged to participate in these PotLuck events in order to learn, network, increase awareness and strengthen the foundation. When like-minded individuals come together for a good purpose, amazing outcomes are the result.

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The New West Summit – (San Francisco, CA: Nov 20-21)

The New West Summit is set to be the first cannabis technology conference, and promises to offer businesses valuable information on the tech opportunities available in the cannabis space.

Smoke Reports will be attending the event as both a pronounced sponsor and a media partner. Tickets to the New West Summit can be found on Eventbrite, where the coupon code “smokereports” can be redeemed for 50% off of the ticket price. The event takes place at the Parc 55 Hotel in downtown San Francisco on November 20th and 21st (Friday and Saturday).

Find out more in our New West Summit blog feature.

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