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How recreational weed went from illegal to essential in 3 months in Illinois

Throngs of high-minded shoppers started flooding pot dispensaries when sales of recreational weed kicked off in Illinois at the start of the year.

Less than three months later, that type of mass clamoring is strictly forbidden as social distancing measures have been put in place to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the uncertain age of COVID-19, when news and information travels almost as fast as the virus itself, Jan. 1 likely seems like a lifetime ago to many cannabis users.

Unlike thousands of businesses, however, pot stores have been able to keep their doors open under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order, which labeled all dispensaries and cultivation centers “essential businesses.” The decision to allow the high times to keep rolling amid the rising public health crisis is an acknowledgment that, for many Illinoisans, buying weed is as vital as doing laundry or grocery shopping.

“People all over the nation are running to cannabis right now,” said Margo Vesely, executive of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the country’s oldest weed advocacy group. [Read more at Chicago Sun Times]

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