Chicago Mayor And Health Officials Release Guidance Ahead Of Cannabis Legalization

Cannabis will be legal in the state of Illinois on January 1, 2020, and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have issued guidance and precautionary information for anyone planning on consuming recreational marijuana.

According to Mayor Lightfoot’s office, the new public service awareness campaign entitled Cannabis Facts Chicago is aimed at providing residents of the city with information on the potential impact of legalized cannabis as well as advice for adults on how to consume marijuana safely.

The City is urging adults to consume cannabis responsibly as it prepares rules surrounding possession and consumption, advising that modern marijuana products can be potent.

“As we work to equitably stand up the recreational cannabis industry and right the wrongs of the War on Drugs, our first priority will always be the safety of our communities and residents,” says Mayor Lightfoot. “That’s why the City of Chicago’s departments and sister agencies are partnering with local medicinal providers to create a new campaign to provide our residents and communities with clear guidance around cannabis use, particularly how to protect our youth from products that could be harmful to their growth and development.”

CDPH Acting Commissioner, Allison Arwady says that they have learned from other states and cities that have legalized cannabis and found that responsible consumption is a key lesson, advising consumers to take it slow and know what they are putting in their body.

“Overuse of cannabis, both short—and long-term, can have negative health consequences,” says Arwady. “And young people should not be using it at all.

Through the new public awareness campaign, the City encourages cannabis consumers to know their dose, protect their brain, avoid frequent use, and refrain from driving while high.

According to the City’s campaign health and safety tips, cannabis use, particularly heavy use by young people can impair short term memory, learning ability and even intelligence, and has been associated with increased risks for depression and suicidal thoughts in the future.

The City says that daily cannabis use, particularly in high doses, can impair memory and has been associated with an elevated risk of psychosis.

The City also states that there is no safe level of cannabis that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can consume and recommends that all consumers keep their cannabis products safe from children and pets.

CDPH will be working with Chicago public schools, city colleges, and partners in the medical community to communicate tips to residents about cannabis use.