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Friday, April 20, 2018

Chicago-based Kitchen Toke, the first zine devoted to cooking with weed, preaches the green word

Posted By on 04.20.18 at 06:00 AM

An issue of Kitchen Toke
  • An issue of Kitchen Toke

When Chicagoan Laura Yee supplies brownies for a potluck, people wonder if she baked brownies, or brownies with a secret ingredient. “Everyone always asks, ‘Is there weed in that?’” she says.

Her reputation precedes her. Yee and longtime collaborator Joline Rivera are the founders of Kitchen Toke, the first national publication devoted to cooking with cannabis. Based in Chicago, the magazine delivers recipes for savory dishes, decadent desserts, and cocktails—all of which feature cannabis, infused in oil or butter, as an essential ingredient. Issues are released quarterly, and the second drops today, Friday 4/20.

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If you can’t smoke weed right now, you might as well read about it

Posted By on 04.20.18 at 06:00 AM

Chicago Dog - DAVID SAMPSON
  • David Sampson
  • Chicago Dog

The
Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

Our weed issue came out a day early. We're sorry about that. It's really a shame how the calendar aligns itself sometimes. But anyway, it's 4/20, time to fire up the old bong or stir up a batch of brownies or hit the dispensary or, if you're still at work or some other weed-unfriendly location with internet, check out some of the writing about marijuana that's appeared in the Reader over the years.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Should we stop using the word ‘marijuana’?

Posted By on 06.01.17 at 01:30 PM

Ashley Thompson inspects plants inside the "Mother Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion. - AP PHOTO/SETH PERLMAN, FILE
  • AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File
  • Ashley Thompson inspects plants inside the "Mother Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion.

Since he became an advocate for marijuana legalization more than a decade ago, Mason Tvert, now director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, says he's been approached countless times by people who tell him he should stop using the word "marijuana" because of its racist origins within the context of America's war on drugs.

As a reporter who covers the weed beat for the Reader, I can relate. I've also been reprimanded by medical marijuana business owners and employees and anti-prohibition advocates who are quick to remind me that "cannabis," derived from Latin, is the proper term for the drug. Additionally, some of them say, the word "marijuana" is a historically racist term that we should scrub from our vernacular.

They have a point. The history of marijuana and drug prohibition generally has been tied to racially charged ideology and rhetoric whose roots can be traced back to the country's first drug czar, Harry Anslinger.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Most Democratic gubernatorial candidates favor some form of legal weed in Illinois

Posted By on 05.30.17 at 08:00 AM

The Reader asked Illinois gubernatorial candidates where they stand on marijuana legalization. - AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA
  • AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA
  • The Reader asked Illinois gubernatorial candidates where they stand on marijuana legalization.

Whomever Illinois elects as governor in November 2018 may be in a position to make or break proposed legislation to legalize possession of limited amounts of pot and sow the seeds for a recreational marijuana industry in the state.

The gubernatorial election is still a year and a half away, but the sponsors of legislation filed earlier this year to legalize marijuana in Illinois say they plan to wait until the beginning of next year—at the very earliest—to push for a vote. That means a bill legalizing pot could arrive on the desk of the state's next governor in January 2019.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Pot smokers toke up in public to make a political statement

Posted By on 04.21.17 at 02:35 PM

About 80 people gathered at the Logan Square monument Thursday afternoon for a smoke out in honor of 4/20. - LEE GAINES
  • Lee Gaines
  • About 80 people gathered at the Logan Square monument Thursday afternoon for a smoke out in honor of 4/20.

About a half-dozen men in their 20s and 30s stood next to the Logan Square monument Thursday passing three blunts between them as they celebrated the unofficial holiday known as National Weed Day. When Sammy, a 35-year-old Logan Square native who declined to provide his last name, looked at his cell phone and realized it was 4:20 PM on April 20, he and a few other people clapped and cheered.

Sammy and the rest of his group were among a crowd of about 80 people, mostly male and mostly millennial, gathered around Logan Square's marble column toking up for the 4/20 celebration. Sammy told me he found out about the Logan Square smoke out on Facebook and jumped at the opportunity to celebrate with like-minded individuals.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why are CBD products sold over the counter some places and tightly regulated in others?

Posted By on 03.23.17 at 12:04 PM

CBD products for sale at Bucktown shop CBD Kratom - LEE V. GAINES
  • Lee V. Gaines
  • CBD products for sale at Bucktown shop CBD Kratom

Walk into the CBD Kratom shop on the corner of Damen and Dickens in Bucktown and you'll find pill bottles, containers of balm and lotions, and small glass jars full of oil neatly arranged in tall glass display cases. They're all advertised as CBD extracts, one of the primary chemical ingredients in marijuana.

An el stop away, near the corner of Milwaukee and California, the head shop Vape Daze is full of multicolored phallic glass bongs, pipes, vaporizers, and small containers of CBD oil that retail for between $30 to $75, depending on the potency of the extract.

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is one of several dozen active compounds in marijuana, and the primary nonpsychoactive ingredient—meaning it doesn't get you high. And these two shops are among at least half a dozen retail stores in Chicago that carry products purporting to contain the stuff.

At first it might seem like a no-brainer for vape shops to carry CBD. But its presence alongside e-cigarettes and giant glass bongs is actually surprising: CBD extracts produced by state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators are heavily regulated by state agencies, sold only in state-licensed dispensaries, and restricted to Illinoisans with medical marijuana cards. Meanwhile, CBD extracts available for purchase by the general public appear to be produced with no regulatory oversight at all.

So what gives?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Potheads rejoice: Illinois lawmakers move to legalize recreational weed

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 07:01 PM

The proposed Illinois law would make it legal for adults to possess, purchase, and grow weed. - TODD MCINTURF/DETROIT NEWS VIA AP
  • Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP
  • The proposed Illinois law would make it legal for adults to possess, purchase, and grow weed.

The mood among marijuana legalization advocates at the Illinois State Capitol was jubilant Wednesday after legislation was filed to legalize weed for recreational use.

Bills were introduced in both the state house and senate today that would make it legal for people 21 and older to purchase, possess, and grow limited amounts of pot. The bills would establish a system by which businesses are licensed and regulated to grow process, test, and market the drug to adults. The legislation also proposes taxing wholesale sales of weed at a rate of $50 per ounce and subjecting retail sales to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax.

The law would also allow Illinois residents to grow up to five pot plants, says Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, who was at the statehouse Wednesday.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Will the Trump administration interfere with Illinois’s medical pot program?

Posted By on 02.28.17 at 04:00 PM

Revolution Enterprises, which operates a cultivation center in downstate Delavan, is one of 17 businesses allowed to grow medical cannabis in Illinois. - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • Revolution Enterprises, which operates a cultivation center in downstate Delavan, is one of 17 businesses allowed to grow medical cannabis in Illinois.

State rep Lou Lang remembers thinking the night of the election that people with a stake in Illinois's medicinal marijuana pilot program—including cultivators, dispensaries, and patients—had a lot to fear from a Trump presidency and its promises of "law and order."

Statements from the Trump administration over the past week appear to at least partially affirm Lang's worry. Attorney general Jeff Sessions said on Monday that he's "definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana" or the fact that "states, they can pass the laws they choose."

"I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not," Sessions said.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New Illinois law defines ‘stoned driving’

Posted By on 08.02.16 at 12:45 PM

Marijuana plants at the Ataraxia cultivation center in Albion - AP PHOTO/SETH PERLMAN
  • AP Photo/Seth Perlman
  • Marijuana plants at the Ataraxia cultivation center in Albion

When Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law decriminalizing marijuana possession Friday, Illinois became the 17th state to consider small possession a civil matter subject to a citation and a fine rather than a criminal offense.

If you're caught carrying less than ten grams of marijuana (which, it seems in some photos, is a lot of marijuana), cops may issue tickets for $100 to $200. Chicago has had an ordinance decriminalizing pot possession of up to 15 grams since 2012.

"I'm obviously thrilled that the state is taking this approach," says Amy Campanelli, who heads the Cook County Public Defender's office. "It's a progressive, fair criminal justice reform."

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

How to make a cocktail using both legal and illegal varieties of grass

Posted By on 07.07.16 at 07:00 AM

After being challenged by Sammy Faze of the Drinkingbird and Billy Sunday to make a cocktail using grass, Brett Lichnerowicz of Luxbar did some urban foraging in people's yards "with or without their permission" to find some for his experiments. "There's so many varieties of grass—there's ryegrass, fescue grass, sweetgrass, bluegrass." Once he'd retrieved some samples, he says, "I steeped, I cooked, I pulverized, I muddled, I chewed. They all kind of taste like a green tea." He ended up using several in a simple syrup—lemongrass, ryegrass, and fescue grass, along with coriander, dandelion root, and burdock root—that "has a very strange flavor, like a green tea-lemon-poppyseed taste."

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