MMJ Products in IllinoisPosted by On

Exactly a year ago, in late October 2015, medical cannabis became available to qualifying Illinois citizens, of which I am one. As someone who’s been using ganja for over 30 years, I quickly recognized that product quality varied a lot, depending on the cultivator.

The assignment of cultivation and dispensary licenses here in Illinois was rife with political favors, as is evident in the entities who were awarded these licenses. Some of these folks are very experienced while other applicants didn’t know the first thing about growing tomatoes, let alone cannabis. As a result, quality was, and still is, all over the place in Illinois – from exceptional to sub-par, thought I should clarify that more good than bad. Moreover, the average MMJ patient here in Illinois is 40-60 years old, on a fixed income and has little or no experience with cannabis.  Add exorbitant prices to the mix ($50-70 eighths; $60-90 grams of extract) and a restriction in the program that requires all products to be prepackaged in opaque containers (i.e., patients can’t easily see what they’re buying) and you’ve got a perfect storm that does not favor uneducated patients on a tight budget.

After observing many patients express frustration at their unsatisfying purchases and inability to select effective, medical-grade products, I decided to leverage my professional background in art, writing and instructional design to launch a cannabis product review website. However, I did not want it to be the typical paragraph format prose written by some annoying, snarky kid who ultimately ends up revealing more about their favorite coffee shop than the actual cannabis product. Instead, I envisioned a site that would: 1) Provide very detailed and honest product reviews that are easy to scan; 2) Useful, accurate cannabis education; 3) Stories about Illinois cannabis culture. I also wanted to make my site innovative and fun so I decided to develop a fictional character in the form of an overzealous cop to serve as a conduit in which to deliver the content.

I launched my website in May of this year and I’m proud to say it is achieving its overarching mission of serving the patient. Many patients have come to depend on my site to help them make informed purchasing decisions or to learn something new about medical cannabis. Lots of dispensary employees also often refer to my site for details about a new product or to check out a new learning document. Admittedly, this site has also helped me tremendously. Seven years ago I got sick, was misdiagnosed and lost everything. After several years of medical hell and a few major surgeries, I now have my health back but I am unemployed. This website gave me some purpose in my life when I didn’t have any hope left.


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