All About Recreational Cannabis in Illinois

This entry was posted on Dec 15, 2022 by Dominique M.

With the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, learn where to buy it legally, consume responsibly, and what laws and regulations are in effect.

Historically a taboo subject, the use of cannabis regulated by state laws with 39 states allowing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and 21 states allowing the use recreationally or adult-use. The use of cannabis has a long history in the United States, with evidence of its use dating back to the colonial era. Cannabis use became increasingly stigmatized and eventually prohibited through the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Recently, attitudes towards cannabis have changed and cannabis is now celebrated as a safe and effective way to relax and tap into all your senses.

Illinois is at the forefront of the cannabis movement. Perhaps even more importantly, Illinois is leading the social charge in today’s cannabis movement. We are elated to be the first black-owned and social equity license to be open in the state! We hope our work goes hand-in-hand with Illinois’ initiative to eliminate lasting criminal repercussions for acts that are now legal under new recreational cannabis laws.

With open arms, we welcome cannabis enthusiasts of all persuasions, from experienced folks to first timers. Our goal is to ensure you feel welcome, safe, and informed, central to our ethos of our commitment to cannabis education. We believe that the more you know, the freer you are to achieve the amazing sensory experience one desires.

We hope this guide inspires 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 History

In 2013, Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal use. Effective January 1st, 2020, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes through legislative action, with the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which legalized the possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis for adults over the age of 21. Illinois became the first state to legalize the recreational sale of cannabis by legislative action, taking clear steps to put social equity at the forefront of the new laws.

Cannabis has been cultivated and consumed in Illinois for centuries for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. The compound known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for its psychoactive effects— the “good” you feel after you indulge in an edible, dab, or smoking session. Prior to 2013, it was illegal to consume or sell concentrations of THC over 0.3% for medical use under the Cannabis Control Act, enacted in 1931.

Improving Illinois Communities with Cannabis

In its second round of provisional recreational licenses, the state focused on social-equity applicants, a move geared toward making the cannabis industry in Illinois more equitable by qualifying through certain qualifications. Ivy Hall, a social-equity applicant, was the first to of the new dispensaries to record a sale on November 11th, 2022.

In addition to the new licenses, 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, 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.

Another measure built into Illinois’ legalization was the Restore, Reinvest and Renew program, or R3. R3 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.

How Much Cannabis Can Illinois Residents Possess?

  • Flower: 30 grams (just over an ounce)
  • Concentrates (oil, dabs, kief): 5 grams
  • Edibles: 500 milligrams of THC
  • Adults with medical cards can also cultivate up to 5 plants for personal use

Non-residents of Illinois can purchase half of the allotted cannabis products mentioned above.

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.

Are There Consequences for Misusing Cannabis (Even Though It’s Legal)?

Though the recreational use of cannabis is legal in Illinois, there are consequences for misuse and illegal use. Some potential consequences include fines, jail time, and license revocations. Illegal cannabis use includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

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

A truly great cannabis experience begins when selecting your products and continues on through purchase, use, and all the desirable effects that come thereafter. At Ivy Hall, we do our best to educate purchasers and encourage all of our patrons to consume cannabis in a safe, comfortable, and legal setting. And remember to refrain from driving while under the influence.

Who Can Sell Cannabis in Illinois?

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued dispensary licensed businesses.

In order to become a legal dispensary, they are required to secure appropriate licensure from the state and adhere to strict health and safety regulations. Once approved, dispensary owners must 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.

As a premium dispensary with a mission, Ivy Hall employs only specially trained staff, 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-related questions including product education and Illinois cannabis law. There truly are no dumb questions, so be sure to approach your budtender as you would a trusted friend.

Questions to Ask the Staff at a Dispensary

Whether you are new to cannabis or have long enjoyed its sensory effects, 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 strives to create a unique, tailored cannabis experience for each person that enters our doors. Your preferences and desires are a primary component of that experience and influence which 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 provide 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 be an enjoyable social activity to do 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 makes 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 a 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 because you have to digest your edible treat first, it takes longer to feel the effects.
  • Pre-rolled joints. Pre-rolls are pre-rolled, cannabis joints that are ready-to-light. 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’s crucial to consider its potential euphoric effects and side effects. Because every person reacts differently to cannabis, you should think about how it may affect you before consuming it.

Some elements you should consider include the following:

  • Dosage. Products differ wildly from one another, meaning you may need to consume a smaller or larger amount of product to achieve the effect listed on the label.
  • Potency. Products like edibles and concentrates are much more potent than cannabis flower. 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’s 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’s important to remember to always partake responsibly. With the right information and approach, cannabis can truly be a positive sensory experience to behold.

Cannabis FAQ

Want to know more about the specifics of cannabis in Illinois? Here are some questions our budtenders frequently field.

Q: Where Can You Use Cannabis in Illinois?

A: 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 us 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.

Ready to come in and stay awhile? Visit us today.


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Dominique M

Retail Operations and consumer hospitality expert with a passion for community building within retail and e-commerce spaces to cultivate high class experiences within the cannabis industry.

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