HCI Alternatives

Medical marijuana outlet lobby
HCI Alternatives

What's often called synthetic marijuana has led to three deaths in Illinois and sickened dozens in recent days. It has some in the medical cannabis industry concerned. 

marijuana buds next to prescription container
eggrole / flickr

In a long-anticipated move, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in January he was rescinding the hands-off approach taken by the Obama administration regarding marijuana enforcement. Illinois has decriminalized the drug and has a medicinal program. 

The opioid epidemic continues to sweep across Illinois and the rest of the nation, now declared a public health emergency. But, some believe medical marijuana could be the solution.

Amanda Vinicky

A cannabis dispensary is using a new tactic nearly a year into Illinois' slow-rollout of a medical marijuana program. The advertising campaign is designed to encourage doctors and patients to view cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

More than 10,000 Illinois residents are certified to use marijuana for medical purposes; Kyla Travis, a Springfield resident who has multiple sclerosis, is one of them.

"I'm almost 60 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 17. So for these many years, they had me on opiates," she says.

Amanda Vinicky

It had been a long time coming, but Illinois' pilot program for medical marijuana has finally kicked off last November. It's been slow growing for the industry so far, and there are many restrictions.  The business HCI Alternatives has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state now.