The Pursuit of Happiness & Cannabis: On the Opening of MOCA in Chicago 2/22/16
“Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness & Cannabis: on the Opening of MOCA| Modern Cannabis in Chicago, Illinois” 2/22/2016 article and photography by Nancy Bechtol, ©2016 American Press Association, photojournalist, /Assoc. Bureau Chief -Chicago, Illinois.
- How do you see the future of the Cannabis Industry?
- “Just getting more open and free – once people see that this helps people– isn’t harmful, is good for society, is good for the economy. It seemed like an incredibly exciting opportunity to be on the ground floor of something that will help a ton of people and change our country for the better” -Danny Marks, Co-Owner of MOCA & Emporium Arcade/Bar
“Long before other nations came to this continent, native peoples had knowledge of this sacred plant, this sacred medicine. We understood that it could help one breathe better; it could help one see better; it could help people attune themselves to the harmonies and vibrations of Creation…. When one smoked the sacred plants, one came closer to the natural powers of Creation. Those who understand the power of this plant and the uses of this plant have become potential victims upon the sacrificial altar of multinational corporations… that have vested interests in products that make you sicker, and against a natural plant that will bring you back to health.” – Splitting-the-Sky Hill (Native Activist| Dacajeweiah, /John Boncore (RIP 2013) (1) (2)
Spiritual History tells us in the land of the First Nation (now known as the United States of America) people lived in harmony with nature.
“Drugs — when taken as prescribed — kill more than 106,000 Americans each year,1 and the death toll from overdosing on painkillers is now greater than both car accidents and death from illegal drug use.” – Dr. Mercola (3)
2/22/2016 (MOCA| Modern Cannabis “Chicago’s Finest Dispensary” is the newest (4) (there are 2 total in Chicago now) marijuana dispensary, in Chicago – opened in Logan Square. under the Illinois Medical Marijuana is now legal, sanctioned under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Address: 2847 W. Fullerton Ave/2369 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago. IL (same building) contact info: website: http://www.moderncann.com email: email@example.com @moderncann (FB, TW, IG)
Here is the “walk you through” from the open house prior to the official opening: Upon entering MOCA , you will see a clean, secured, well-organized space. Places to sit, brochures, and kiosks/and a large flat-screen in the waiting area, to see the ‘products’ (note: word used professionally for pot) offered. Greeted by The patient advocate, Shea Evans, she welcomes me, gives the overview and introduces me to Co-Owner, Danny Marks. They immediately strike you as people you can easily talk to. One of the roles of Shea Evans is Patient Consultation. She meets clients in the area and provides assistance to fill out the forms and navigate the required steps. Truly you can ask any questions – and answers are given! Places to sit, brochures, and all the help you need. You can get more info on the site www.moderncann.com Guidance available on how to get your patient or caregiver card – they aim to “make it easy” which is very good. There are “qualifying conditions” on the website, but you need certification of these by a physician. Ask them how to do this. A few of the “debilitating medical conditions” are: Multiple Sclerosis, Residual limb pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Lupus, Cancer and other conditions (there are now about 40 qualifying conditions) (5)
First stop: Meet up with Co-Owner, Danny Marks and Shea Evans, my guide to the facility and patient advisor. First impressions are a lot, and they radiate a welcome and openness coupled with a confident professionalism that will dispel any preconceptions one may have.
Now that the long anticipated MOCA|Modern Cannabis, Medical Marijuana Dispensary is open, a few questions/answers:
Q.(NB) What took so long from date you began to now, delays??
A: (Danny Marks): Everything is new for everybody – the state, the city. There are three state departments involved in the program plus in Chicago we have to deal with zoning buildings and neighborhood concerns. Everybody has been very careful to make sure this is very tightly regulated. Plus, politics with the governor change etc…
Q.(NB) What are the prices for the product? (I understand it varies, but just an idea of range)
A: (Danny Marks) $20 / gram of flower is an ok rule of thumb but will vary (6)
Who is the other owners of MOCA?
Danny Marks, Doug Marks, Barry Golin, Matt Engle, Bryan Engel, Michael Chasen
Q.(NB) Is the product all coming from Illinois or out of state too?
- (Danny Marks) All product will be grown in Illinois. There are about 7 active cultivators at this timeNext, I talked to the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, Project Director – Victoria Mendicino whose office is based in Springfield, shared a display of brochures to take with, and was open to any questions. Useful is the handout on “Steps to Apply” They also serve as patient advocates. MCAI can assist patients in educating their doctors about medical cannabis. For more info and online application go to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) website http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis. Or you can get a paper application. website: www.mca-il.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on FB. You can petition the MCAI for assistance in petitioning to add more conditions to the list, but this list appears to be closed at the time of this article. (7)
Kevin Sink, Dispensary Relationship Manager, and his associate from Revolution Cannabis Co. is a vendor displaying the “product” (marijuana) and offered a descriptive 2015 Strain Guide. “Advancing Cannabinoid Science” with numerous choices. All strains have listing which detail if Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. Terpenoid profile, Flavonoid profile, and Mother/Father. For example: “Revolution Blue Cheese “described as a Sativa which is for pain relief, stress relief, mental stimulation, appetite stimulant. The profile is potent, fresh, blueberry and more strains. Of course there are the Edibles with a range such as cannabis infused chocolates, chews, candy and cereal bars, also extracts and tinctures and moon rocks. And, I am sure, more as time goes on. So yes, you do not have to smoke the weed to get the relief/high for your condition. There are many other ways. They also have very cool swag, especially the T-Shirts. The strain names wax poetic: Blue Dream, Island Sweet Skunk, Gorilla Glue#14, Tora Bora, AC/DC, Charlotte’s Web, Revolution Alien Rock Candy, and more. www.RevolutionCannabisCo.com also check out social network sites: FB, TW, IN
Next I visited the display of CRESCOlabs, you can go to the site to learn about medical cannabis. There is lots of useful information on the site, worth a look at www.crescolabs.com #reliefhasarrived also on social network sites :FB, TW, IN
Cat Stewart. Senior Director of Outreach & Education along with a colleague, Sean McAlister had informative pamphlets and explained about the marijuana growers in Illinois and about the Law. Best of all among the munchies, Cat pointed me in the right direction – to the treats table and I had some incredible chocolate and other munchies (served with product for clients). Impressive is the choice of award winning Chef Mindy Segal, of Hot Chocolate. Among her accolades is the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the Country, who will be baking the brownies and other edibles. (8)
Tall and stunning is the presentation case from MADE. Which has a store at 1430 W. Chicago. www.madegallerychicago.com @madegallery FB, IG. This is a highlight with all the artistry in a glass display case. An array of fine glass objects utilitarian and also beautiful art pieces on their own. Yes, lots of glass, paraphernalia on display and for sale, some which you may need instructions for use, which is readily available. Artisans created pieces certainly will allow for conversations and enjoyment. They have many pipes and other items, from small to bigger and elegant up to fine art pieces. The “guide” will gladly demonstrate and explain how to pick something to suit.
Historically, Marijuana is an American tradition with a jagged past and evolving future. Over hundreds of years, Cannabis, and even the Hemp plant (non-THC variety -which is used in industry for rope, clothes, food, etc., ) has gone through rebounding stages of legal, illegal, medicinal use, recreational, including full circle legal – depending on your state. The Federal Government has bowed to individual State’s Rights and The majority of Americans, about 58% or higher, think pot should be legal. Period. According to Newsweek, (9) Bernie Sanders (Progressive/ Socialist, Democratic Candidate for President) said “I suspect I would vote yes” to a measure to legalize recreational marijuana “That averaging 58% of Americans – state it should be legal. Period.
There are critical differences in marijuana laws from one state, county, or city to another. “While 23 states allow medical marijuana, the use of recreational marijuana is legal in only four states, Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Washington D.C which passed initiatives legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana for adults 21 and older under state law. Other states may follow soon. For more information, refer to the the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) The White House. Office of National Drug Control Policy (10)
Both George Washington, the First President of the USA and Thomas Jefferson, framer of the Constitution, grew it as a cash crop and both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was drafted on hemp paper (although transcribed in final version on parchment) In fact, many Presidents have admitted to using Marijuana. Too numerous to mention. Recall the stellar Olympic swimmer/athlete who won major USA Olympic Medals in 2009, who was ‘caught’ smoking pot. Michael Phelps “revealed to the world that smoking marijuana did not affect his ability to excel. Millions of Americans are recreational drug users who use drugs responsibly and lead normal lives.” (11) and most recently, former Chicago Bear Jim McMahon, now an advocate, who recently came forward on national TV, in a moving interview, tells why he uses medical cannabis, and sharing how he has found relief and better results than the mega dosing of prescribed pain killers which have numerous side often debilitating side effects (12)
Brief History: “Cannabis was initially grown for industrial reasons, though recreational use spread quickly during the 20th century. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, responded to political pressure to ban marijuana at a nationwide level. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 created an expensive excise tax, and included penalty provisions and elaborate rules of enforcement to which marijuana, cannabis, or hemp handlers were subject”
Notably the propaganda film came out the year before, Reefer Madness (1936) Original Version (I hr.) https://youtu.be/esfKfTBGadg Reefer Madness (1936) Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjHOBJzhb0
During the counterculture of the 1960s, attitudes towards marijuana and drug abuse policy changed as use became widespread …In Leary v. United States (1969), the Supreme Court held the Marihuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional since it violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution privilege against self-incrimination.. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which repealed the Marihuana Tax Act. In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized… By the end of the decade, several states had decriminalized the drug, while many others weakened their laws against cannabis use.…a wave of conservatism during the 1980s allowed president Ronald Reagan to accelerate the War on Drugs during his presidency, prompting anti-drug campaigns such as the “Just Say No” campaign of First Lady Nancy Reagan. Federal penalties for cultivation, possession, or transfer of marijuana were increased by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act (1984), the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (1986), and the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment Act (1988). Since California voters passed the Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalized medical cannabis, several states have followed suit. However, United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative (2001) rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act because Congress concluded that cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use”, and Gonzales v. Raich (2005) concluded that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use. Times are changing but, duly noted that Cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and possession is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction.”
Counter culture has gone mainstream with with the social, economic, and health benefits increasingly known. Since the Marijuana Legalization 2016: Illinois Posts Over $1M In Legal Medical Sales
Citing “Marijuana sellers are in the green in Illinois. Patients legally purchasing medical weed spent almost $1.7 million in November and December, the Chicago Tribune reported (13)
Indeed, people from all walks of life, not only the creatives in music, art, and thinkers of all kinds… Including Willie Nelson who has long been the poster boy and now has his own brand “Willie’s Reserve” and the story continues…on and on. (the list seems endlessly growing healthy and green) (14)
“Tommy Chong, the Patron Saint of Stoners, with a new lease on life following his second bout with cancer, as well as a new cannabis line, the marijuana icon and activist isn’t close to burning out. Via focused heavily on their enjoyment of marijuana, as well as the criminalization of the plant and related paranoia, particularly for non-white smokers (Chong is half Chinese, Marin is Mexican American). A beloved outlaw entertainer, Chong has used his platform to promote marijuana’s medical and recreational values and to fight for its decriminalization. In 2003, he became a marijuana martyr when a government sting focused on drug paraphernalia targeted him as the famous face and financier of his son Paris Chong’s glass bong and pipe company. To prevent his son and his wife, comedian and actress Shelby Chong, from being prosecuted, he signed a plea deal and served nine months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia. He was curiously the only first-time offender caught up in “Operation Pipe Dreams” to go to prison (Chong plans to petition President Obama) “The market for recreational weed has expanded in recent years, with legalization … The market for legal marijuana sales is also growing — especially with more states expected to vote to legalize the drug in some form in coming years — and it could reach nearly $11 billion in annual revenue by 2019, according to cannabis industry research firm The ArcView Group. As such, celebrities ranging from Nelson and Snoop Dogg to singer Melissa Etheridge and comedian Tommy Chong (Patron Saint of Stoners) have embarked on business ventures that look to cash in on the growing industry.” (15)
The law state by state continues to evolve in favor of lifting the ban on “Prohibition”. Does this sound familiar? Remember – after all, it happened before, with Alcohol.
- Cannabis 101: Leafy: https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-does-on-gram-of-cannabis-look-like-a-visual-guide-to-cannabi
- NORML. http://norml.org/legal/item/illinois-medical-marijuana
- DNA Info “Chicago’s First Pot Clinic Could Open in Logan Square By Turkey Day” By Paul Biasco August 13, 2015 @Paul_Biasco https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150813/logan-square/construction-begins-on-what-owners-hope-will-be-chicagos-first-pot-clinic
- Mercola.com “Marijuana Research Supports Its Safety and Benefits” May 16, 2015 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/16/research-supports-marijuana-benefits.aspx
- Vancouver Sun: “Native Activist, Chase resident John Boncore tried to arrest George Bush, and led the 1972 Attica Prison riot” By Mike youds, Kamloops daily news March 20, 2013 http://www.vancouversun.com/Native+peace+activist+John+Boncore+found+dead/8116980/story.html?__lsa=b4b0-93ae https://www.leafly.com
- Cannabis Culture “Visions of a Sacred Tree” posted by Chris Bennett on November 5, 1995 (excerpted comments by: Splitting-the-Sky Hill on November 5, 1995 reprinted. http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/1995/11/5/1051
- Illinois Dept. of Health http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention- wellness/medical-cannabis Illinois Dept. of Mental Health: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis
- com Chicago Pastry Chef to Develop Line of Marijuana Edibles by Daniela Galarza Dec 8, 2015, 9:07a @superdaniela http://www.eater.com/2015/12/8/9870784/pastry-chef-mindy-segal-marijuana-edibles
- “Poll: Majority of Americans Think Weed Should be Legal By Polly Mosendz, 10/21/15
- The White House. Office of National Drug Control Policy. Pres. Barack Obama. Administration. Marijuana Resource Center: State Laws Related to Marijuana https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/state-laws-related-to-marijuana
- Huffington Post “Michael Phelps: Greatest Olympian Ever (Who Also Happened to Smoke Pot)” 08/03/2012 02:17 pm ET | Updated Oct 03, 2012 by Anthony Papa. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-papa/michael-phelps-greatest-o_b_1737863.html
- Washington Post article by Des Bieler January 29,2016 “Jim McMahon quit taking painkiller pills and is now an advocate for medical marijuana” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/01/29/jim-mcmahon-quit-taking-painkiller-pills-and-is-now-an-advocate-for-medical-marijuana/
- International Business Times: O 01/05/16 Pure Economics: Pot is A Cash Crop and makes Good business sense “By Lydia Tomkiw @lydiatomkiw
- Fortune.com “Willie Nelson’s new pot brand ‘Willie’s Reserve’ just scored private equity funding by Tom Huddleston, Jr. @tjhuddle September 22, 2015
- Complex. article by Justin Monroe http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2016/02/tommy-chong-cannabis-line
The author of this article, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Cannabis: & Opening of MOCA| Modern Cannabis in Chicago” ©2016 Nancy Bechtol, APA photojournalist, Assoc. Bureau Chief -Chicago, www.americanpressassociation.com acknowledges and relied on vast reference of a universal knowledge base, in addition to the cited sources, and decades of information out there ranging from traditional sources to alternative publications. In global thanks for all the input. Especially thanks to MOCA|Modern Cannabis, (a Medical Marijuana Dispensary) the owners, especially Co-Owner, Danny Marks, and staff/vendors who took time for interviews, as listed in the article. Most importantly is their dedication to those in need, who now who can benefit and live their lives more fully without fear.